Dr. Ritu Sharma: SDI’s Globetrotting Gem

  • Drew Poplin

If you are one to believe in fate or destiny, then you could argue that Dr. Ritu Sharma was born to teach. The daughter of an Army Colonel and an English teacher in India, Dr. Sharma followed in her mother’s footsteps and became an English teacher. This mastery of the English language would take her around the world to eventually become a Lead Faculty member at SDI.

From Dubai to Indonesia, from Indonesia to Singapore (If I continued listing all the countries she has been to, this article would soon become a novella.), all told, she has been to around 60 different countries.

Eventually, attending a job fair in Houston would lead to her making America her home.

In her words, “I have been to 60 countries, Mr. Poplin, but I’m yet to find a country that is as comfortable and secure as the United States. And I’m very thankful to serve those students who have served our country. Very grateful for that…to be an American, to become a citizen.”

Born To Teach

Dr. Sharma has certainly acclimated herself to the country quite superbly. Not only does she possess an exceptional understanding of the English language, but she also serves on her city council as the safety committee chair. Her children are incredibly successful, and she has even managed to fully embrace the cold tundra of Cleveland, Ohio. (As someone who has spent half a decade in Ohio, that is no small feat.)

But through everything, one thing has remained constant throughout her life: a deep passion for teaching. “Mr. Poplin, even today, I cannot do anything else. I just thought it was such a noble profession…I was such an introvert. It’s only thanks to teaching that I could be where I am.”

Despite the years of instructing generations of students, Dr. Sharma is keenly aware of the fact that her role as an educator frequently gets flipped on its head, as it is often she who becomes the one who is learning. “The rewarding part is we are paid to teach our students, and we end up learning from each one of them for free. So, it’s such a beautiful thing, just sharing our passion with our students and learning about theirs.”

New Challenges, New Opportunities

Very recently, Dr. Sharma had the opportunity to do a live presentation at Indiana University—an event that even surprised her. Apparently, she had anticipated only being invited to participate virtually, so being given the opportunity to speak in person at the conference was a great honor. After all, this was an event that hosted many intellectuals and professors from all over the globe, and now she had the opportunity to represent SDI in front of individuals from places like Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and more. “I was very excited when my proposal was accepted because my proposal was directly tied to the capstone project that my students do in English 101.”

Specifically, her topic was how firearms and the firearms industry as a whole enhance civic engagement. Despite some understandable nerves and speaking for a room of around 180 people, Dr. Sharma didn’t let them overwhelm her. “It was so well received. I didn’t think people [would] get up so early in the morning. I was like, ‘Okay, what am I going to get? 30? 40?’ But the entire room… it was filled!”

After such a successful presentation, you can expect her to continue being an effective ambassador for the school in this capacity. She explained, “I enjoyed doing it, and I thought, ‘Goodness, I’ll do more of it!’ I have those credentials, and I am confident. I’ve been teaching for almost three decades, but this certainly was a new avenue for me to explore.”

While it is impossible to know where fate will lead Dr. Sharma next, one thing is certain: We at Sonoran Desert Institute are blessed to have her as an instructor.

Want to learn about firearms technology or unmanned technology from qualified professionals— instructors who are competent and passionate about helping you learn, like Dr. Ritu Sharma? Consider SDI! To find out more about our program offerings, click here!

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