Welcome. I am an Indian American woman who left India as a small girl. For most of my adult life, I lived in the United States but I was stationed in Landstuhl, Germany for a few years as well. In 2016 I was waiting to start a doctoral program, so I decided to take some time to travel and explore the world. From January to May of 2017, I lived in India. I originally started this blog to share my experience and observations as I rediscovered India through my 40+ eyes and heart. Now I am living in Delaware and have started the Disaster Science and Management Ph.D. program at University of Delaware. I will continue to write about my life and my thoughts will certainly be a reflection of the world as I see and hear it.
May 2021 – Update
I now live in Maryland but right down the road from UD. I am finished with my course work and working on my dissertation proposal. My area of focus is the role of bureaucratic discretion on the implementation and delivery of disaster relief or recovery programs. I am particularly interested in understanding if there is a relationship between state-level bureaucrats, their past experiences with disasters and the choices they make for their states. In addition to this, I teach leadership and try to better understand the role of power and privilege in our lives.
Please note that my posts will vary in frequency and length according to where we are in the academic year. For those of you who have been following me so far, I thank you. This space allows me to share my thoughts and observations in a respectful and civil manner that encourages dialogue. I hope to hear from my readers with their comments and feedback, particularly as I start sharing some of my research.
From January to May 2017, I lived in India and did some traveling through the country. While journeys are often about discovering oneself, my trip was also about appreciating life and living it fully. Of course, as a Non-Resident Indian returning to her motherland, I was also eager to discover how much of my Indian identity remained.
Now I am a disaster practitioner getting a PhD in disaster science and management. I attend University of Delaware and live in Maryland. Although my coursework is complete, I am working on my dissertation proposal. My research is on the role of bureaucratic discretion on the implementation and delivery of disaster relief or recovery programs. I am particularly interested in understanding if there is a relationship between state-level bureaucrats, their past experiences with disasters and the choices they make for their states. I also study the role of power and privilege in leadership and disaster management.
My first name is Susamma but my blog is titled Travels With Leenamama because I am mostly known to my beloved nieces and nephews as Leenamama. My oldest nephew and niece call me Aunt Sue. Aside from my nieces and nephews, a few of my close friends have children who are also part of my clan. When I first set out on my trip, I wanted to make sure all my doodlebugs knew how integral they were to my life and my identity.
For those of you who think the world of hazards and disasters is only for the “disaster junkies”, allow me to tell you otherwise. While I love learning about the science of disasters, I am more interested in helping people help themselves as much as possible before something happens to them. Disaster recovery funding & funding mechanisms, systemic injustice, access and inclusion, and exploring the relationships between people and institutions in the disaster enterprise are all areas I am interested in exploring in addition to gender and race equity and equality in life. I daresay I will find more topics to research as I learn more.
During my time in India, I recognized and appreciated that I am a complex woman with a multi-faceted view of life. I am an immigrant, a U.S. Army Veteran, an Indian- American, an Aunty, an adult in her forties, a BrownGirl, and most recently , a doctoral student. I look forward to sharing with you all.