Deepa Bhalla is helping make NYIT’s mission to provide educational opportunities for all qualified students a reality. She joined NYIT in the summer of 2002 as a tutor for the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), a program administered in partnership with the New York State Education Department to assist highly motivated but academically underprepared and economically disadvantaged students successfully transition to college and complete their degrees.
Since joining NYIT, Bhalla has worked as a graduate assistant/tutor in the Learning Center, research assistant, residence hall director, College Success Seminar instructor, and HEOP counselor. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from NYIT in elementary education and instructional technology, respectively, and a master's degree in higher and post-secondary education at Teachers College of Columbia University. As an NYIT student, she received several honors, including the Israel Louis Schure Award in recognition of her extracurricular activities and service to the NYIT community.
Bhalla is a co-author of the textbook, First Year Experience at NYIT. As director of HEOP, she is responsible for the program’s financial operations, oversees services such as academic advisement, tutoring, and career and personal counseling, and plans a pre-freshman summer institute. Despite the state's budget and funding challenges, Bhalla and her professional team continue to build on the program’s strong foundation and deliver innovative ideas to maximize students’ educational experiences.
How many students are enrolled in NYIT’s HEOP? What are the retention rates?
Approximately 75 students are enrolled for the 2012-2013 academic year. The retention rate of the program is excellent: from 2011-2012 to present, the rate is 97.4%; the five-year rate is 91.4%.
What is the HEOP Summer Institute?
It’s an intensive program for pre-freshmen to provide academic support and prepare them for the standard NYIT curriculum. It also affords students time to get socially acclimated to collegiate life and forge long-term friendships.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I recently had the opportunity to see my first incoming class graduate. All of the students entered with academic and financial challenges, so it was wonderful to be able to celebrate the achievement of their educational dreams with them.
What is your favorite book and television show?
Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a book about the extraordinary bond between two Indian sisters. I Love Lucy, a classic comedy show, always makes me laugh.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I come from a very musically inclined family. I have been a modern and classical Indian dancer for the past 25 years.