Mrs. Kumari Shibulal, Professor A. Thimmaiah, and S.D. Shibulal
S.D. Shibulal, a cofounder of technology giant Infosys, and Mrs. Kumari Shibulal received a Maharishi Award at the 2016 Fall Celebration, at which time they announced that their foundation would be providing scholarships totaling $100,000 for students from India who enroll in the new Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program that will begin in January.
Infosys is a global leader in technology services and consulting, with clients in more than 50 countries.
The Shibulals were honored with an award for their charitable work, which includes organizing social programs for the underprivileged in India in the areas of education, child cardiac surgery, pension plans, and organic farming.
The scholarships will cover 50% of the tuition for eligible applicants from India — 10 scholarships per year for two years.
The Shibulals founded the Sarojini Damodaran Foundation in 1999 out of a sense of responsibility towards society. The foundation began by offering scholarships and gradually expanded its reach to a range of causes, including education, cardiac care, pension projects, nutrition, organic farming, arts, culture, and sustainability in different parts of India.
“The Sarojini Damodaran Foundation, under the leadership of Mrs. Shibulal, has empowered thousands of economically deprived youth, women, and families in India,” said professor A. Thimmaiah, who is friends with the Shibulal family. “Every year they are reaching out to more and more people who need help. Confucius once said, ‘Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.’ Their humility and generosity is exemplary for other successful business leaders to emulate and serve humanity and mother Earth.”
Scholarship recipients will enroll in the new 10-month certificate program in regenerative organic agriculture that will begin in January. It will combine classroom instruction with six months of field work learning all facets of organic agriculture.
Media and communications student Sophia Woodward
MUM student Sophia Woodward had wanted to become an actress since she was nine, but she never thought she would get some of her best acting opportunities in Fairfield, Iowa.
Sophia moved to Fairfield from Massachusetts at age seven and attended Maharishi School. At age 18 she moved to British Columbia, where she finished high school. She decided to pursue acting professionally, and soon enrolled in a six-month certificate program at the Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts.
At the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard during the Los Angeles premiere of Lilith’s Awakening (from left to right: co-producer Mar Campillo, actress Eden West, Sophia Woodward, director Monica Demes, and actress/singer Barbara Eugenia)
During the next 5 years, Sophia auditioned for television, indie movies, and commercials while working a day job at a Western martial arts school, where she picked up swordplay. She also performed in theatre productions, including a play she wrote and co-produced at the Vancouver Fringe Festival.
In 2014 Sophia heard about an MUM course on “the creative process,” taught by Nynke Passi. She became so intrigued that she came all the way from Vancouver to attend just one class. It wasn’t long before she decided to become a full-time student in media and communications.
With director Monica Demes and Joanna Plafsky, co-founder of the DLMFA, at the 2016 Iowa Motion Picture Association Awards
In addition to attending classes and learning about creative writing and filmmaking, Sophia has secured multiple roles in student productions of the David Lynch MFA in Film Program. She was cast in three films and a web series, including the lead role in the feature film Lilith’s Awakening by Monica Demes. For her role in Lilith’s Awakening, Sophia received the Best Actress award from the Iowa Motion Picture Association in 2016.
“Sophia is a subtle writer, but her most outstanding work is always in performance, or a combination of writing and performance,” said Nynke Passi, assistant professor of creative writing. “She has the ability to access her emotions readily and deeply, spur of the moment, without defense. It’s entirely genuine — an unguarded connection to self that not everyone can make palpable before an audience.”
Behind the scenes of Lilith’s Awakening
In between her classes, Sophia has been globetrotting to attend premieres of Lilith’s Awakening in Los Angeles, Sweden, and Montreal. She hopes to attend two upcoming premieres in England and Argentina.
Sophia feels that the Transcendental Meditation® program has been an essential part of her life. “TM is my rejuvenating mini-vacation from stresses that arise from the daily activity of my very full life,” said Sophia. “It gives me the deep rest that I need to be wholly creative and enhances my clarity, helping me to achieve my goals.”
Currently, Sophia is completing a media project for her undergraduate degree, a dance/mime short film, which she wrote, directed, and performed. To find out more about Sophia’s adventures, visit her website.
MBA student Latha Lakshmanan
Latha Lakshmanan enjoys the challenge of a fast-paced work environment and handling high-profile clients, but she found it difficult to balance her personal life with the demands of her job. “One of my main intentions coming to MUM was to have a routine and the discipline to take care of myself,” she said, “so when I go back into the work force, I will have those skills.”
With classmates and Professor Anil Maheshwari and guest lecturer Jim Bagnola
A native of Minneapolis, Latha earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Minnesota, and another in accounting from Augsburg College in Minneapolis. She has worked in internal auditing, risk assessment, and regulatory compliance services for financial institutions and other industries.
In 2012 Latha saw an Oprah special on Fairfield and MUM, which inspired her to learn the Transcendental Meditation®technique. After several visits to Fairfield, she decided to enroll in the sustainable MBA Program in 2016.
With other presenters and organizers of the MBAA International Conference
Since learning the TM® technique, Latha has achieved a sense of calmness in the face of stressful situations. She has also learned to pay attention to life’s synchronicities that are helping her achieve her goals. She even started to document these events to reinforce their occurrence. “You can see that there is an organizing power in the universe,” said Latha.
Latha thrives in the project-based learning environment of the MBA Program, solving real-life problems. “When you are out in the field, the problems can be so different from what a classroom can cover,” she said. “You need to be able to think on the spot, address the different stakeholders, your own team, and the client. It’s a juggling act.”
Presenting her paper at the Midwest Business Administration Association (MBAA) International Conference in Chicago, March 2017
Last week Latha attended the Midwest Business Administration Association International Conference in Chicago to present a research paper she and a classmate wrote for a lean business process project. After graduating, Latha wants to return to consulting, adding sustainability and lean process improvement to her areas of expertise.
“Besides her strong intellectual acumen, outstanding organizational skills, and lofty ambitions, Latha is also fun-loving, likable, enthusiastic, and trustworthy,” said Sabita Sawhney, associate professor of management. “Latha’s greatest strength, in my estimation, is her insistence on developing all aspects of her personality, both head and heart.”
- Awards: Distinguished Entrepreneur Award, Forty Under Forty, Inc. 500
- Home: Naples, Florida
- From: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
- Job: President of Location Based Services, RacoWireless
- Specialty: Software Development
- MIU Degree: BS, Computer Science, 1994
“There is very little I have today that I could not trace back to my education at MIU,” says Felix Lluberes, founder and CEO of Position Logic.
During some of the financially toughest times in recent history — the economic downturn that began in 2008 — Felix was busy accomplishing something that even in good times few entrepreneurs can manage: building up a small business that would be named to the prestigious Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing companies in the U.S.
Felix and his wife Andrea, whom he met while studying at MIU.
A computer science bachelors graduate from MIU, Felix started Position Logic in his home before expanding it to more than 42 employees in four U.S. states and two countries. In 2014, this high achiever won the Distinguished Entrepreneur Award from the Florida Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University, and was named to the Gulfshore Business “Forty Under Forty,” celebrating successful young business leaders in Florida. Felix lives in Naples, Florida with his wife Andrea and their three children, Bianka, Romulo, and Felix.
Felix Lluberes grew up in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, raised by parents whose education did not exceed 8th grade. He attended the local Maharishi High School, located just three blocks from his home, where he learned the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique at age 12.
He grew to love meditation and Maharishi’s teachings. In 8th grade he decided that he wanted to attend Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa after graduating from high school. However, his family’s financial limitations made that seem like a far-flung dream. “I thought that if I applied myself for five or six years, I might get a scholarship,” says Felix. In the spring of 1989 he received word from MIU: he’d won a full tuition scholarship. Felix arrived in Fairfield in August 1989.
Not yet proficient in English, he enrolled in an ESL program before embarking on his degree work. His first moments on campus felt like a dream come true. “Just being able to see the Domes, see the campus, it was amazing,” recalls Felix. “I started to meet the students. That was the beginning of an unbelievable family, unbelievable friends who became lifetime assets.”
Success at MIU
Felix’s three children Felix, Bianka and Romulo
He chose computer science as a major and earned his BS degree in 1994. He landed his first job at a Fairfield company and then relocated to Kansas for a position developing security frameworks. After working a few more jobs in software development, his breakthrough came in 2003 when he created a platform for asset management and GPS tracking.
Based on that technology, Felix founded his company, Position Logic, which within six years earned the Inc. 500 distinction. “In our Naples office alone, where I spend most of my time, we have 42 employees representing 19 different nationalities,” says Felix. “It’s an international family, just like at MIU. It’s something I’m very proud of.”
Mentoring at MIU
Felix attributes much of his career success to what he learned and experienced at MIU. “The faculty there mentor you,” he says. “You get the sense they really care about the students. You can easily approach individuals who sit higher up. They are so accessible, so open, so able to help you. And they do so in a very kind manner.” At MIU, he says he learned to look at things from a deeper level.
“I can see from a different point of view than most people,” he says. “I can relate just about everything back to nature. That’s important.” Felix credits MIU for helping him gain a business advantage, and sees the practice of TM as enabling him to function better. “I call it true clarity,” he explains. “TM plays a critical role in anything I set out to do. It gives me that center, that peace that is necessary to do the right thing at the right time. “I am so lucky to have had this education and experience,” he says. “It has been such a blessing throughout my life.”
BFA student Hannah Foster
When she was little, Hannah Foster wanted to become a veterinarian, a singer, and an artist. She worked for a vet for a few years, took college classes in zoology and wildlife studies, and dabbled in the performing arts. But ultimately she chose art over science and enrolled at MUM to pursue a BFA, a career she hopes can give her the most independence.
Modeling at the 2015 MUM Eco Jam
Hannah grew up outside St. Louis, Missouri, and learned about MUM from her sister Jada, who is an MUM alumna. At MUM Hannah discovered that creating art is part of her personal development process.
“I am interested in philosophy and spirituality, and art gives me an outlet to explore the nature of life and existence,” she said. “I like taking something abstract and trying to express it in physical limitations.”
At the wheel in a ceramics class
Hannah says that the practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique has helped her to be less critical of her own creative work and instead adopt a grander view. “I practice twice a day, no matter what,” she said. “It’s a place that I know I can go to take time out, and it has helped me feel less anxious and more confident.”
Ceramics and painting are Hannah’s favorite media, and she often combines them into multimedia collages. She also enjoys teaching, and last summer she developed and taught a community ceramics class. As her work-study job, she manages the ceramics studio in the art department.
2670: A ceramic sculpture, 2016
“Hannah is inventive in the studio and excited about making art,” said Gyan Shrosbree, assistant professor of art. “She has a lot of promise as an artist: dedicated to her studio practice, balanced in her life and her demeanor, organized, and able to take advice and make it her own.”
During her previous semester, Hannah created a portfolio for graduate school, and two universities have offered her full scholarships. She will begin her MFA at Pennsylvania State University next fall.