Priyal Shah, Academic Advisor II Q&A
Why is it important to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month?
We live in such a diverse country where it’s so important to celebrate differences in cultures and ethnicities. It’s even more important in our current social and political state to embrace this diversity. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to have a positive influence on American art, science, technology, education, and even cuisine.
What qualities do you look for in a leader?
One of the most important qualities in a leader is the ability to cultivate talent. The ability to communicate with one’s team with honesty and clarity is also crucial.
Are you involved in community service in any way?
With the pandemic, my husband and I have become more aware of the struggle for resources faced by many. We have looked for ways that speak to our hearts for giving our time and money. Many ways of living have been changed forever and we look to support those areas specifically.
Why is community service important?
Community Service is one of the many ways to create positive social change in society. For me personally, anytime I can take part in volunteering opportunities with kids and young adults, I feel like I am able to have a positive influence on society. The pandemic has made me realize how important it is to participate in any form of community service. The lack of resources for so many young Americans was blatantly obvious in disbursement of food, education and even healthcare in the past year. These are areas where it’s important to participate in community service opportunities. As a new mother, this is even more important to me. I want to ensure that my child learns by example.
Tell us about your path to Georgia Tech
I moved away for a short time prior to returning to the Atlanta area. Upon my return to the Atlanta area I knew that I wanted to continue my career in higher education at a world renowned institution like Georgia Tech. Having lived in the Atlanta area for a long time, I have always known of the prestige of Georgia Tech and so I took this as an opportunity to join an institution I have long admired.
Beyond money, awards, and job titles, what’s the biggest measure of success?
Your ability to influence and impact others is even more important than money, awards and job titles. As an advisor, when I see that I’m making a positive impact on a student or that I am able to have a positive influence on a colleague, I take pride in that. In my 12+ years in higher education, I see that I find the greatest joy in my career when I am able to have a positive impact on a student. This is what keeps me rooted to this field.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
Transitioning from in person and undergraduate advising to online graduate advising was a challenge. Initially I felt that one can only impact or guide a student face-to-face. However, as I interact with students through the online platform I see it’s very possible to engage with and influence students through the written word as well. We’ve seen how important it is to keep an open line of online communication with students this past year. The pandemic has made it even more clear that creative means of learning and communication are crucial in todays world.
What’s the next big thing you’d like to accomplish?
I would like to continue growing as an adviser and contribute more to the overall success of our students. As a new mom, I am learning to juggle motherhood and my career. I want to continue balancing those two things and strive to do the very best in both.