Bridging a gap
Talk with Krishnaswamy about her achievements — whether it’s in person, by Skype, or via the Beam, the nearly $15,000 telepresence device she uses to conduct her academic and professional business — and she’ll eventually sound like an Academy Award winner thanking the many people who have made her success possible.
First come her parents, particularly her mother, who have provided most of the hands-on care throughout her life, from feeding and bathing her to moving her hand to the mouse she uses to operate her computer.
“My children's lives are very important to me, so there is no job too difficult for me,” Pushpa says. “Nothing equates to a mother’s care.” The message took root. “My parents always told me never to give up,” Krishnaswamy says, “and never to let failure near me.”
Then there are the Howard County teachers who expanded her sense of what was possible for her: MESA adviser Marie Boston, who convinced her she could succeed in the IEEE competition, and Fran Dummett, who drove her to the UMBC campus to show her a college she believed would welcome her, and others.
At UMBC, associate vice provost Renetta Tull introduced Krishnaswamy to the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, a National Science Foundation program