Mugdha Yeolekar, Ph.D.

--- Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at California State University at Fullerton ---

Guest lecturing provides an opportunity to connect with community at-large
You are a full-time professor, mother of two, wife, part of a few leadership committees, theater artist, entrepreneur, expert chef and a writer - You are a busy woman, and yet you never turn down an invitation to guest lecture! What motivates you to share

I love guest lecturing. It provides me an opportunity to connect with the wider audiences. What I like the most about guest lecturing is that when you are speaking to new audiences you need to present materials in a very accessible and engaging way.

As an educator, you definitely recognize the importance of bringing guest speakers to your classroom. In the recent years, who have you invited to your classroom and why?

Bringing guest speakers to my classroom proves to be very effective. Guest speakers add another level of authenticity to classroom conversations. Besides, interacting with guest speakers is especially useful for me as they bring new pedagogical insights. I have brought a Buddhist monk from Myanmar, a leader of a Islamic community in Orange county, a Sikh student to my class on Religions of the World in the last year.

What advice would you give to folks who have expertise or relevant experience and want to pay it forward?

My advice would be to say “yes” to opportunities of giving talks to new people. Many times, those talks don’t bring much in terms of material value. However, those opportunities pay off in the long run by creating wonderful professional networks as well as by bringing nuanced understanding of your topic in the process of presenting your expert knowledge to common audiences.

Mugdha Yeolekar, Ph.D. Bio:

Dr. Mugdha Yeolekar completed her Bachelor in Arts with a major in Political Science and minor in Philosophy from the University of Pune. She also holds a Bachelors in Sanskrit and Indology from the Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, India. After her Bachelors, she pursued her Masters in Political Science from the University of Pune where she was awarded with a gold medal. Mugdha received another Masters in Political Science with a focus on study of religion and violence in India from the University of British Columbia in Canada. She received her doctorate from Arizona State University. Her dissertation is titled as “Gurucaritra p?r?ya?: Social Praxis of Religious Reading.” Prof. Yeolekar has presented at academic conferences in various countries including Thailand, China, United States, Canada, India, United Kingdom and Israel. Currently she works as assistant professor of Religious Studies at California State University at Fullerton where she teaches the following courses: World Religions, Introduction to Asian Religions, Introduction to Buddhism, and Introduction to Scientific Study of Religion. Her research interests include religion in South Asia with reference to issues of agency and power, women and religion, materiality and religion, and ritual reading.

Spotlights
I love talking about my work, life, and perspectives. It's a very engaging and fulfilling experience for me to be able to connect with people openly and honestly on that level.
- Adeet Deshmukh
Guest lecturing is rewarding in that it allows me to stay abreast of what the next generation is thinking and what the top academics are concerned about and it allows me to give back and share my wisdom with tomorrows society leaders.
- Rishad Tobaccowalla
There is a distance between the world of academia and industry-- giving back to students with a professional's perspective tightens that distance and gives students invaluable direction for their future.
- Jared Nicol
The divide between the industry and academia is widening. The next generation of graduates are being armed with knowledge and skills that are irrelevant by the time they graduate. Professionals must collaborate with professors and cultivate classrooms where everyone benefits.
- Richie Etwaru
Bringing in communication professionals to guest lecture in my classroom is an excellent way to bring the material home and to further inspire students and to educate them on the various opportunities in our industry.
- Michelle Truelson
One of the biggest challenges for college professors is insuring that real-world demands of work and of professions are represented. Most professors have career experience working as teachers and researchers and don’t necessarily have detailed understanding of the needs of other professions. At the same time, we are expected to help prepare the next generation to move into business and professions. Guest lectures can be one solution to this challenge. Industry experts, corporate leaders, and business professionals can help insure that class content is relevant to the world of work.
- Matthew Seeger, Ph.D.
Most rewarding experience for me is getting students excited about a career in Consumer Insights, and seeing the value of anthropological thinking to consumer research
- Timothy Malefyt, Ph.D.
I am very motivated to share my life and professional experiences with students, so that I can bring some insight into the world of entrepreneurship, which is the most scary, grueling yet rewarding career path there is.
- Gaye Tomlinson
Speaking provides an opportunity for me to teach and share information that can change lives.
- Karen I. Wilson, Ph.D.
Guest lecturing provides an opportunity to connect with community at-large
- Mugdha Yeolekar, Ph.D.
I like talking about PR because it’s something everything thinks they understand - but they really don’t know how it is different from advertising or marketing. I break it down in simple terms and make the tactics and theories very digestible.
- Andrea Holland
I have been very fortunate in my life and career. It’s my pleasure to share my experience to help others get their start.
- Don Lupo