Women Raising Women: From Kotapolur, India, to Dubai


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Keerthana Dana Sekaran’s story already resonates with the success stories of many Indian expats living in Dubai.

Originally from the village of Kotapolur, Andhra Pradesh, she was raised by her grandparents who were farmers by profession. Recognizing the importance of maintaining their livelihood and educating their daughters, her parents ventured to foreign countries and worked hard to improve their lives. Keerthana studied at a school in the CBSE program until grade 10 and took a 2-year math, physics and chemistry course.

Keerthana’s mother began her career in Dubai when her little girl was eight; she flew Keerthana to Dubai in 2019. At that time, Kerrthana dreamed of becoming an astronaut and getting a pilot and scuba diving license.

“When it was time to go to college, my family insisted that I could finish my studies locally. There were questions like “Why Dubai? And “What does it do?” I wouldn’t be an engineering student in Dubai without my mom. She worked hard and fought for my sister and me so that we could have better lives and opportunities, ”Keerthana explained.

After applying to Curtin Dubai, she received a merit scholarship covering 45% of her tuition fees. In addition, her commitment to her grades and extracurricular activities qualified her for the Col. SP Wahi and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor Awards, which funded all of his tuition for the next two years.

“During the pandemic, my parents both lost their jobs, which made it extremely difficult for us to survive as a family. My sister and I returned to India to further our education in one way or another. received the awards from my university made it even easier for me to continue my studies through distance learning.I also spent a lot of time working, and the industry experiences I had through our engineering program helped me get an internship with Isuzu India. ”

Keerthana and her sister were both able to return to Dubai last month and are back in class to continue their studies in person. She wants to use her engineering degree from Curtin to make her way into the aerospace industry and work with companies marketing space travel.

Along with her academic success, she has participated in several webinars as an authority on IoT-based power quality monitoring systems and India’s global business footprint. She has led STEM workshops in high schools through the University’s Outreach Program and has been a cohesive voice for STEM education for girls.

As a student at a leading Australian university in Dubai, Keerthana won DEWA’s Distinguished Conservation Projects category award and stood on the podiums at events organized by ASHRAE and Emirates Environmental Group (EEG ).

“Today, I am the Vice President of the Student Council and a proud woman in engineering. It would not have been possible without my mother fighting for my education,” Keerthana explained.

We continue to witness many expats who struggle to survive life’s obstacles only to provide the best of what is available to their families. Students like Keerthana are a testament to showing the world what can be achieved when they strive for excellence, honor their parents with their accomplishments, break down barriers and make a difference.

Curtin University is ranked among the top 200 in the world. Its Dubai campus offers a number of merit scholarships, industry-supported awards, and financial aid in different programs. For more information, email: [email protected]


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