Insight into how individuals perceive and process information lies at the core of Bhattacharya’s career. A member of Secondary Education and Youth Services’ educational psychology faculty, she specializes in literacy issues. She works with teenagers and adults with and without learning disabilities, especially dyslexia.
Bhattacharya had another professional track in mind when she came to New York after four years of teaching high school economics in her native Ahmedabad, in the state of Gujarat on the northwest coast of India. She planned to get a master’s in administration and supervision from Baruch and return home to open her own school.
One class prompted her to change direction. “At Baruch, I was required to take a three-credit course in students with disabilities,” Bhattacharya recalls. Already interested in this area—in India, she had served as a reader at a school for the blind—she finished the educational administration program at Baruch in 1990 and earned a master’s in special education from Hunter College two years later, with a focus on learning disabilities. After receiving a doctorate in educational psychology from the CUNY Graduate Center, she joined QC.
Bhattacharya remains eager to influence education in her homeland. She is exploring collaborative opportunities in her field with members of the teacher education faculty at Banasthali, Delhi, and Jawaharlal Nehru Universities.
“In India, learning disabilities are stigmatized and compared to mental or emotional disorders,” Bhattacharya observes. “I want to identify universities, clinics, and centers that work with learning disabled populations.” Then she hopes to involve QC students in that work, whether through international exchanges and experiential learning or virtual classrooms set up over Skype. “I want to make something happen, even if it’s done on a small scale,” she says.
Favorite books: Mysteries, especially titles by Mary Higgins Clark
Favorite music: Jazz. Bhattacharya regularly attends events at Jazz at Lincoln Center and enjoys listening to New Orleans icons like Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band—in New Orleans, when possible.
Little-known fact: An animal lover, Bhattacharya is the proud owner of a cockapoo, supports the Humane Society and the ASPCA, and is concerned about wildlife preservation.