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10 Questions with Chand Sripad

Chand Sripad, Chemistry Lab and Safety Supervisor, is responsible for monitoring the safety of chemistry labs as well as setting them up. She will have worked at Andover for 28 years this April. Originally from Roorkee, India, Ms. Sripad has been a citizen of the United States for 38 years now. She is an Andover resident.

1. What is your favorite part about your job?

[My] favorite part about my job is [getting] to come here…It is to troubleshoot, make things work for [students] and the teachers, [and] to see the smooth running of the lab program. I also interact with work duty students. Usually I have quite a bit of them because I do require their help in the labs, and they do a marvelous job for me… I love interacting with them. It’s a space where they chit-chat and have conversations, so I’ve come to know a lot of kids that way.

2. What was your childhood like?

My childhood was in a place called Roorkee. I was born in a city called Mysore, which is in [the] south of India, and I was raised in a place called Roorkee…It was a small town, [but] it has now grown. It’s at the foothills of the Himalayas, and that’s where I grew up—actually, where I did my schooling and my master’s as well, because there’s a big university there. That’s where I got my master’s in chemistry, too.

3. What is one thing you’ve learned during your time at Andover?

I think over the course of the time that I’ve been here, I’ve learned to adapt very quickly [to] accept the changes that people want, and I’ve learned to be patient with all of that, because patience is really, really important. [It’s] key… to working here because you have to be ready, because people will ask for different things. You have to be able to deliver and… not be worried about it or anxious about it. It has taught me a lot of patience, this job.

4. What is it like working with students from all different Chemistry levels?

The teachers here do a wonderful job of meeting the students at whatever level they are at, and they are so helpful. I try to do the same if they ask me for something, because usually even [Biology] kids come up sometimes to request material, or to use the balances, or some cross work that they are doing, and I like to be available to them. I like to work with all levels of students. Today, we had a [Chemistry-580] class which I was setting up for yesterday, and it all seemed to go very well. It’s a complicated lab, and it…seems like they’re handling it very well.

5. What are some things you want students to know about working in chemistry labs?

The most important things when one is working in the [chemistry] lab is to be mindful of safety, mindful of [the] lab partner whom usually they pair up with, mindful of their space, respectful of the equipment that they are using, and respectful of their [classmates] and their teacher in their interactions.

6. What is your favorite book?

Different books come into play when you’re younger, but…Kahlil Gibran’s Prophet still remains today one of my [favorites]. I read it every now and then, and I [get] a lot from it. I think as I’m moving on in my life, I seem to get more out of it.

7. What is your favorite thing to do off campus?

I have always been involved since I was six years old—that far back—in Indian dance and music. I’ve actually been part of a group in the local area. I don’t perform that often, but I know a couple of classical dance forms, and I’ve performed them all. So, I would say Indian dancing and music is predominantly big… in my life. It has been for a long time, and [I have shared] that passion with the community here. I [have] brought in folks to perform here, [like] dancers and musicians as a part of Abbot [Academy] grants. I got three Abbot grants to do that.

8. What is your favorite branch of chemistry?

We teach mostly in organic chemistry, so you know it’s just organic at the school level. [Chemistry-300] is a college-level course. [Chemistry-550] and 300, they prepare you for college very well, really. I mean, sometimes when you go to college, you have to repeat level one of chemistry there as well, but I majored in analytical chemistry, so it helps with setting up. So, I will say I liked analytical chemistry a lot, which is a part of organic, but it has more built into it in terms of techniques and procedures.

9. If you could go anywhere on vacation where would you go?

Oh my gosh. The bucket list is so long…I’m trying to work them [out], but I would really say that…if I could hike Kilimanjaro, that would be great. My family and I have hiked other places, and I think that would be just amazing. Close following is Machu Picchu, which is just as wonderful, so I think I would put Kilimanjaro as number one, because then you get to go to [the] Serengeti.

10. What is your favorite sport?

I don’t have a favorite sport. Growing up in India, I played badminton a lot. I played at college level, and cricket is the big thing in India… My dad used to play, my brother played, so I’m still involved in cricket and I still love to watch cricket. I subscribe to channels and watch it, especially when the World Cup is on. I did play basketball [and I also] love to watch basketball. I love to watch tennis, [too]. I wouldn’t say there’s one favorite, but I would say that I like to watch sports.