Ranjani Saigal, a senior educational technologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-founder of Lokvani, was named the 2012 INDIA New England Woman of the Year last night at the Woman of the Year Banquet & Awards Ceremony at Lombardo's Conference & Function Facilities in Randolph, Mass. Saigal was also honored with "Award for Excellence in Education and Community Service."
Well known for her work with Lokvani, Saigal is also co-chair of the TIE-Social Entrepreneurship group, serves on the board of MITHAS, the MIT Heritage of the Arts Society and is a classically trained dancer that has been teaching Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi at her dance school for 20 years.
She also works with several nonprofit organizations including VisionAID, Saheli, Udavum Karangal, Ekal Vidyalaya and The Boston Pledge.
As a senior educational technologist at MIT, Saigal works to help enhance the effectiveness of teaching and learning using technology.
"I think it is great to be recognized by a peer community magazine," Saigal said. "It really means a lot to me."
At the event, all 20 finalists for the 2012 Woman of the Year award were honored and recognized. A panel of five judges picked the Woman of the Year. This year's judges were: Anant Agarwal, director of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory; Anjali Arora, vice president of software development at Allscripts; Amar Gupta, the Thomas R. Brown Professor of Management and Technology in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona; Venkat Kolluri, chief executive officer of Chitika; and 2011 INDIA New England Woman of the Year Manju Sheth.
"To be chosen as a winner it is just tremendous," Saigal said. "There were just so many tremendous women that have their own great accomplishments it was just an honor to be part of this list."
Saigal said that central to all her activities is her passion to be involved and to do new things, as well as her desire to "help underprivileged people in any way."
"What is core to everything I do is I do things that I care about," she said.
She also expressed great appreciation for her peers and those who nominated her for the Woman of the Year award. "I just love the community we are in and the love that I get from all the people around me," she said.