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Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

Fellow Spotlight: Meghna Sabharwal

Fellow Spotlight: Meghna Sabharwal

Dr. Meghna Sabharwal is a professor in the public and nonprofit management program at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and a National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) Fellow. She also serves as the Associate Provost of Faculty Success at UTD. With an extensive research portfolio, her focus lies in public human resources management, particularly addressing issues such as workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion, high-skilled immigration, and comparative public human resources. Throughout her career, she has garnered recognition through numerous awards. Meghna has authored five books and over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, earning six best paper awards. She is the Editor-in-chief of the Review of Public Personnel Administration (ROPPA).

Who or what inspired you to enter into public service?

My path into public service is influenced by my family. My mother, a dedicated science teacher for over 45 years, exemplifies commitment and compassion for service. Her tireless efforts, along with the legacy of my grandmother, who was also a devoted teacher, instilled in me a deep appreciation of public service. Witnessing the selfless dedication of my family members to their students, I realized the profound significance of giving back and serving others. My sister, following in their footsteps, continues to inspire me with her passion for education and commitment. Their collective influence has shaped my understanding of the importance of service and instilled in me a sense of duty to contribute to our society in a positive way.

What is your favorite class you have ever taught or taken, and why?

My favorite class was Organizational Theory, which I took during my master's program at Arizona State University with Professor Mark Edwards. His teaching ignited my passion for organizational behavior and management, setting me on a path to specialize in public management and significantly shaping my career trajectory. Now, as a professor myself, I thoroughly enjoy teaching Human Resources Management and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to my Master of Public Administration and doctoral students.

What advice would you give to those interested in pursuing public policy or public administration as a career?

Public policy and public administration offer incredibly rewarding career paths where individuals can make a tangible difference in society. One key piece of advice I would offer to those interested in pursuing this field is to understand the breadth and versatility of public administration. Contrary to popular belief, it's not limited to a specific background or profession. Whether you're an engineer, environmental scientist, accountant, computer engineer, or a psychologist, your expertise is invaluable to the government. If one has a passion for improving people's lives and giving back to the community, pursuing a degree in public administration or public policy can truly make a positive impact. It's a field where one can do meaningful work and effect real change.

What area of public policy interests you the most and why?

I'm deeply passionate about policies that prioritize the needs of marginalized communities, ensuring they're not on the periphery. At the heart of effective policy lies a commitment to democratic principles like social equity, justice, transparency, and accountability. I believe in policies that not only address systemic inequalities but actively work to remove barriers and provide equitable opportunities for everyone. By placing social justice at the heart of policymaking, we can create a society that's fair and more inclusive, where every individual has the chance to succeed.

What is your favorite cuisine?

I love Mediterranean and Indian cuisines.

What is your favorite hobby or activity that you enjoy in your free time?

In my spare time, I enjoy a few hobbies that help me unwind. I'm a big fan of music, especially Bollywood, Punjabi, Pop, and Latin tunes! Even though I don't understand the language of Latin music, I still love the rhythm. I also like to read nonfiction. And whenever I can, I love to travel and explore new places, learning about different cultures along the way.

Who in your life has been an influential mentor or inspiration for you?

Several individuals have been instrumental in shaping my academic career. Firstly, my mother has been a constant source of inspiration and support. Additionally, my PhD advisors, Drs. Joe Cayer and Elizabeth Corley, have played a crucial role in my academic and professional development. Their mentorship not only equipped me with the necessary research and teaching skills but also provided invaluable guidance as I navigated my career path. I am grateful for their support and encouragement, which enabled me to secure an academic position.

My dear friend and PhD cohort mate, Dr. Jeannine Relly, has served as both a sounding board and a close friend throughout my journey. Her insights and friendship have been invaluable in navigating the challenges of academia. I am also thankful for the numerous faculty members and collaborators I work with- the list is too long to mention here. Their guidance and mentorship have been crucial in shaping my academic trajectory and fostering my growth as a scholar. Without their support and mentorship, I would not be where I am today in my academic career.

What was your dream job as a child?

As a child, I dreamt of becoming a medical doctor. However, that dream definitely ended when I fainted at a college blood drive while donating blood in India. But I'm still happy to have the title "doctor" associated with my name, even if it's not in the medical field! 😊

									 Dr Meghna Sabharwal
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