Over the years we have seen women working alongside men to change the world and render it better for future generations. Building and shouldering the very foundations of business empires have now become a norm for women. The trepidation of society, gender inequality, and other societal factors no longer stop them from achieving what they aim for.
Here, at The Knowledge Review, we talk about one such compassionate and tenacious leader, who along with spearheading a prominent educational institution, is also motivating women to break the glass ceiling and take the path of greatness. Dr. Mariazeena Johnson, Chancellor of Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology (SIST), with her astute leadership skills, unfathomable patience, perseverance, passion, and zeal has surpassed all adversities and made sure that the doors are left open for others to walk in.
Life story in Nutshell
Dr. Mariazeena’s quest to spread the gleam of knowledge and reform the educational fraternity took off right after she began her career in 2001 as the Director of Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology. Over the years, Dr. Mariazeena’s continuous endeavor has been towards initiating change in the educational system. “I work with a vision of redefining the education system and wish to bring a revolutionary change,” she expresses.
Nevertheless, bringing change and bettering the educational system does not happen overnight, it has to be earned eventually after crossing all the primary goals. The initial task that she had at her hands was to maintain the legacy and tradition of Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology.
Established in 1987 by Col. Dr. Jeppiaar, Dr. Mariazeena’s father, this institute has stepped in history of offering exceptional education in the areas of technology, science, and engineering. Throughout the years, this college’s sole purpose has been to offer world-class education and make effective contributions to the educational fraternity. It’s this endeavor granted it the mantle of Deemed University on 16th July 2001.
Thereupon, being appointed as the Director of this esteemed institute, Dr. Mariazeena was bestowed upon the responsibility of further escalating its prominence and spreading its presence globally. “Making Sathyabama Institute an inclusive university is one of my biggest and the most significant achievements,” she says. In the course of time, Dr. Mariazeena’s sheer guidance has enabled its growth in leaps and bounds. “I have been serving the Institution as the Pro-Chancellor since 2016 and ascended to the position of Chancellor in 2019. Throughout this journey, I have contributed my best in taking the Institution to global Standards. Sathyabama has now grown into an Institution with a strength of more than 20000 students providing world-class education,” she adds.
Empowering Learners, One Step at a Time
For more than a decade, Dr. Mariazeena has successfully managed to propel the institute’s vision globally. SIST has now emerged as a leading educational institution and achieved excellence in higher education to international standards through Postgraduate studies, Research, Technology Incubation, Product innovation, and Science and Technology. However, Dr. Mariazeena was not satisfied yet, her passion for education yearned her to bring change in the educational system. She isn’t just looking forward to improving the lives and educational experience of students enrolling at SIST, but rather alter the educational system wherein every student gets exceptional educational experience.
Education is the birthright of every individual, irrespective of their social status or physical capabilities. Propelling the same thought, Dr. Mariazeena ensures that the socially, economically backward students and differently-abled students are given the opportunity to pursue their studies in SIST with a full scholarship. Just like how charity begins at home, Dr. Mariazeena has worked to establish SIST a home that provides education for ‘one and all’. Aiding this mission of SIST is the Anbu Foundation, an organization founded by Dr. Mariazeena. Every year more than 500 students are given full scholarship under this foundation wherein it is made sure that the underprivileged or differently-abled students achieve their dreams and conquer the world.
“The lives of so many children are transformed, and it makes me happy that I have played a role in making them realize their dreams and succeed. I believe education is the best tool to empower children and prepare them to face the challenges of life”, asserts Dr. Mariazeena, upholding her quality of being a visionary educationalist
It is evident that the aim of education is to equip students with skills and also empower them to thrive in life. Building both intelligence and character that should be the actual purpose of education and Dr. Mariazeena’s next step was to bring this awareness among the educational fraternity. “I believe the role of an educationist is not to prepare the students for exams but to prepare them for life,” she quotes.
The belief, today’s learners are tomorrow’s shakers and movers, is central to Dr. Mariazeena’s philosophy of education and to achieve the same, she adopts every plausible method. She strongly believes that the responsibility of molding students into individuals who are compassionate, intellectual and humanitarian lies on an educational institution. The Jeppiaar IAS Academy, yet another organization of Dr. Mariazeena was established to nurture students and help them become responsible citizens. The students, upon graduating from this academy are steadfast and skilled to serve the commoners with zeal and passion. “I would like the students to be more responsible citizens and come forward to serve the nation and take positions in Politics and Administration. I also encourage students to be more aware of the issues of the society and raise their voice against social evils,” she comments.
Journey as a Leader
Leaders are not born, but made, and Dr. Mariazeena’s journey exemplifies this statement. Having grown as an influential leader, her actions inspire others to dream, learn and become the best version of oneself. Her journey from being a teacher, entrepreneur, to becoming a global leader had many ups and downs. However, it was her persistence and passion towards education and the betterment of the society that persuaded her to never give up and continue on the road of hardships. All of this tireless working paved her way to greatness. Being recognized by the Ministry of Women and Child Development as One of The 100 Women Achievers in the country and being recognized as One of The 12 Women Transforming India; an initiative by Niti Aayog in association with UN in India are just a few of the appropriations that this revolutionary leader has earned over the years.
Dr. Mariazeena realizes that there is more work to be done and while along with constantly striving to achieve her aim she also empowers others to be leaders. “For me, leadership is to empower others to become leaders and not making them followers,” she quotes. Having redefined the benchmarks of the educational realm, Dr. Mariazeena has now shattered the conventional beliefs about women leaders.
Her life teaches us that woman empowerment is not just about making women strong, but, to leave behind in other women the conviction and will to carry on. “To me, women empowerment means to make women powerful and to provide them with the power to face challenges of life, to overcome the difficulties, and inequalities,” she expresses. To enlighten fellow women about the same, Dr. Mariazeena has established a dedicated Women Empowerment Bureau. This bureau organizes several programs with an aim to empower and socially uplift the underprivileged women.
Aiming for the Sky
The Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology, under the guidance of Dr. Mariazeena, has grown to be an inclusive institution offering education in various disciplines. Today, this institution is responsive to the changes taking place in the field of education on a global scale. The NAAC accreditation with A Grade, ranked 41st position by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) and many other rankings are a few of the feathers on its golden cap.
However, the journeys of both Dr. Mariazeena and Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology do not end here. Together they are aiming for new heights and achievements. The institute is all set to adapt to new challenges and innovation coming it’s way. Today, we live amidst one such personality who has changed the perception towards leadership and education. Her contributions to society and education have now awakened a new era in the realm of education. It is safe to say that Dr. Mariazeena’s expedition will land us in a promising and educated future.