Vandana Singh is an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences and serves as the school’s director of undergraduate studies.
Since joining the faculty in 2008, Singh has worked with undergraduate students pursuing a minor in information sciences. She has worked for the past three years to seek approval and develop the curriculum for an undergraduate major in information sciences.
Her research focuses on the use of information technology for learning in workplaces as well in distance education, computer-supported cooperative work, human-computer interaction, and information systems. Currently she is busy with a research project focusing on gender and information technology.
The daughter of a statistics professor, Singh grew up knowing the respect that professors received, but it was not until she was at college that she began to see herself going into academia.
Singh earned her doctorate from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She holds two master’s degrees—one in computer science from the University of Chicago and the other in knowledge management systems from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Her undergraduate degree is from Pantnagar University, in the foothills of the Himalayas in India, where she was born.
One of her favorite aspects of her job is the interaction with new students.
“There is something invigorating about seeing new students who are eager to learn.”
Singh and her husband—both of whom recently became US citizens—are the parents of two young boys, ages three and five. As a family, they enjoy hiking and taking their sons to play in the riverbeds in the Great Smoky Mountains. Singh said Gatlinburg reminds her of the mountains in India.
She loves to garden but finds that it’s a hobby for less stressful times.
“Right now, I know that my plants will all die because I am busy with school and research. You have to be diligent with a garden.”
She has, however, been trying to grow a lotus flower after hearing of a co-worker’s successful attempt. The flower has significant religious roots in India, where it is the national flower.
If she didn’t do this . . .
Singh said she would love to open her own flower shop.
“I would want it to be somewhere that would attract a large international crowd,” she said, adding that she enjoyed the diversity of students she met while working on her master’s degree in the Netherlands. At Wageningen University, she was one of more than 120 students from 85 countries.
Favorite spot on campus
One floor down and a few steps away from the Communications Building is Singh’s favorite spot: Circle Park.
The beautiful view clears her head, and the green space provides a great place for her young sons to play when they visit campus.