Nil with her dog Billie
Nil with her dog Billie

Dr. Nilianjana Bardhan: from India to Southern Illinois

Dr. Nilianjana “Nil” Bardhan is a professor of Communication Studies at Southern Illinois University, where she has been teaching for the past 22 years. She graduated from Lady Shriram College for Women at Delhi University with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and philosophy. She decided to continue her education and enrolled in Ohio University, where she received her degree in public relations and advertising. She eventually received her Ph.D in intercultural/international communication. Dr. Bardhan regularly teaches public relations courses and is currently teaching intercultural communications as well as a graduate class, Globalization and Post-Coloniality. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been lucky enough to resume teaching in person while still safely social distancing, which she prefers over Zoom classes.

When teaching for 22 years, you are bound to have some crazy things happen to you. Back in the year 2000, Dr. Bardhan was in her second year of teaching at SIU when she walked into a Research Methods class. As she began her lecture, she tried to pull down a projector screen that hung above her. It ended up falling on her head in front of the entire class. Thankfully, she was not hurt. However, she was very embarrassed.

The one piece of advice she would give a public relations student who is graduating is that, especially during these times, do not be disheartened if you do not get a job right away. “Good things take time. Also, always follow up. This industry is not just about a business, but rather about making and keeping personal relationships”, expressed Dr. Bardhan.

Nil with Sandy Pensoneau-Conway and friend

Dr. Bardhan was born and raised in India. While growing up, she participated in badminton and the 100-meter sprint. She was always interested in volleyball, but she never thought she had the wrist strength to play. If she could attend any concert, she would love to go back in time and see The Beatles during the height of their popularity. Dr. Bardhan has a deep appreciation for butterflies because of their beauty and what they represent. Therefore, she would love to travel to Peru since they have over 3,700 different types of species. If she ever won the lottery, she would not purchase anything for herself. Instead, she would donate to local shelters to help animals in need, such as her dog Billie, a Blue Heeler that she rescued. If the opportunity arose, Dr. Bardhan would love to go back to India and teach at a university to see how different the teaching methods are.

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