Our Chat with Nalini Ravishanker


by Melanie Banks  


Get to know our faculty and learn some tricks of the trade with advice they have to offer. To answer some questions about her personal and professional interests, we are giving the spotlight to Nalini Ravishanker, UConn Faculty Coordinator for Statistics and 2018-2019 award winner of the Thomas E. Recchio Faculty Coordinator Award for Academic Leadership.


  1. How did you get involved with UConn ECE?
    It was a while ago, when UConn ECE was called the UConn High School Co-op Program. I liked what I heard about the program either through the UConn Mentor Connection or from our Department Head, Uwe Koehn, and agreed to become the faculty coordinator for Statistics. I am sure I must have continued to like it a lot, since I am still here!
  2. Where did you go to college, and what attracted you to statistics?
    My Undergraduate major was in Statistics at Presidency College, Chennai, India. I got my PhD in Statistics from NYU. I have always been attracted to Mathematics and recall deciding to major in statistics when I heard someone say it combined Math with the randomness that arises in practical applications. I think this now has a cooler name: “Uncertainty Quantification (UQ)”.
  3. What is your philosophy of teaching and learning?
    I think my philosophy in teaching is to make sure the material reaches each learner. A friend recently suggested I do the semi-flipped classroom format, which I think both my students and I like a lot.
  4. What are your hobbies?
    I like gardening, indoor and outdoor.
  5. What was your favorite course you took in your undergraduate career?
    As an undergraduate, I liked Linear Algebra a lot.
  6. What is the best advice an instructor can give to their students?
    I like to ask my students whether they wish to really learn the material or be satisfied with the perception of having learned the material.
  7. What would you recommend students do to succeed in a UConn ECE course?
    The UConn ECE Statistics course is the first real introduction students get to statistics. I think the teachers in our high schools build enthusiasm through a variety of examples that resonate with their students. It would be great if the students catch the enthusiasm from their teachers, and if they are also strong in calculus, consider majoring or minoring in statistics. Their teachers and I can give them more information.
  8. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    As a South Indian (Tamil) girl, I should say “rasam sadam” (white rice with a tomato based thin soup), but I am going to go healthy and say spinach.