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Scholar Profile: Transforming the Lives of Children
Q&A with Bhavini Surana
Recipient of the Mariam and Shervin Korangy Scholarship
Bhavini Surana, a doctoral student in the Department of Movement Sciences from Gujarat, India, focuses on Pediatric Physical Therapy in her research and practice at TC. She works with Professor Andrew Gordon, Professor of Movement Sciences, on research to improve lower-limb function in children with Cerebral Palsy.
Surana is supported at TC by the generosity of Mariam (M.A. ‘98) and Shervin Korangy, whose scholarship funds doctoral students in Movement Sciences or Neuroscience and Education. "Through the Korangy Scholarship, our family is investing in the long-term stability of Teachers College, which will provide benefits not only to scholars in the movement sciences, but to the communities they will go on to serve."
Why did you choose TC?
I chose TC because of my passion to be a good educator in the field of Motor Learning and Control. And for the leadership role TC plays to prepare educators who coordinate the educational, psychological, behavioral, technological, and health initiatives to remove barriers to learning at all ages.
The Movement Sciences laboratories and The Center for Cerebral Palsy Research at TC have a history of conducting outstanding research in improving function in children with CP. It has been exciting to be part of it for the last two years.
What research are you involved in right now?
My current research is based on training caregivers to improve function in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy. It is a home-based approach where we combine the principles of intensity and activity-based training. With this approach, we can reach out to younger children all over the United States. The children who may suffer from seizures in addition to cerebral palsy can be included in this study.
I am also a part of the research of a camp-based intensive approach to improve function in children with bilateral Cerebral Palsy. Although challenging, this summer we were able to include a child with quadriplegia and seizures. The child completed the intensive training successfully without having any active seizure during the camp and demonstrated improvement in the functions. We are excited about being able to demonstrate a change in children suffering from CP with seizures, as we have been contacted by many parents whose children have seizures in addition to CP over the past years. With new developments in our approaches, we will be able to accommodate them.
What is your favorite moment so far at TC?
The CP Research Center summer camps are allowing me to help bring about a change in the lives of these children. My best moment was to see a wheelchair-ridden child walk around the hallway with a walker after the training.
What are your professional plans after you receive your degree?
With a degree comes a huge responsibility. Once I graduate, I intend to work as an academician and a researcher to spread the knowledge about movement sciences, its implications in various fields of life and the need to learn more about it. Being a Physical Therapist, I intend to incorporate the principles of motor learning into the current clinical practice.
How is the Korangy Scholarship helping you achieve your education and career goals?
The scholarship is a blessing for me. I am an international
student, so finding financial support for graduate school in the U.S. can be
difficult. I am very fortunate to have received this scholarship. Mariam and
Shervin Korangy have enabled me to study with the best minds and experts in my
field at one of the premier institutions in the country and to make a
difference in the lives of children with physical challenges.