About Rachna Nath
Rachna Nath is a TIME recognized Innovative teacher and is also an internationally recognized innovator, entrepreneur, NASA solar system Ambassador, National Geographic Educator, grant writer and a STEM enthusiast. She is also the coauthor of the SDG4 Corporate handbook set forward by the United Nations. She has two master’s degrees, first one in Entomology (Insect Science) and the second one in Biology (Developmental Genetics) from Arizona State University working with Honey Bee Exocrine gland ontology.
She has won the Teacher of the Year by JSHS (sponsored by the US armed forces), Governors Celebration of Innovation Award, Global Innovation Award from TURNITIN, Honorable Mention for the Presidential Innovation Award for Environment Educators in the United States, two Excite Awards from Lemelson-MIT foundation to mention a few. She has also been invited to join the “Imaginary College” as an honorary member (Center for Science and Imagination) at ASU along with world renowned elite Philosophers like Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi and many more.
She has been featured as one of the fifty 2021 Women in MILLION STEM, Entrepreneur Magazine, “Chandler Lifestyle 2020 Women of Chandler” recognized at the “Women in Leadership Conference” by the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, Phoenix Arizona. Some other features are in Thrive Global, Authority Magazine as Inspirational Women in STEM. She has also received grants from Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, Healthy Urban Environments, FLINN foundation, NSF, Department of Defense, Arizona Recycling Coalition, Society for Science and the Public, Chandler Education Foundation and the list goes on.
Her entrepreneurship ventures, through her program DRIPBL (Dream Research Innovate Problem/Project Based Learning) has led her to open up many companies with her students. One of the most prominent one is www.oxiblast.in which is a three-generation women entrepreneurship. Her 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son are both #1international bestseller and well recognized musicians as well.
She works with young entrepreneurs to make their dreams come true by working with the community partners and helping patent their ideas. Rachna has a network of trusted IT professionals, lawyers, community helpers who help bring dreams to reality for 9th to 12th grade students who are invested in critical thinking, problem solving and giving back to the community by solving real world problems. She has 3 patents pending from such students in various prototypes from Anti-VOC scent bags to Heat stress monitoring devices. Rachna also does a lot of volunteering work talking about honeybees at various festivals, has contributed her time in mask making during the COVID19 pandemic and also runs a dance school “Sangeeta Nritya Academy” in US which she has dedicated to her Guru Sangita Hazarika in Assam, India. She is a force to be reckoned with and she is not stopping anytime soon.
Lesson 1: Believe that destiny will lead you to where your impact is most needed. 02:44
Lesson 2: Empowering students with curiosity is empowering the future. 04:50
Lesson 3: Be your own advocate, value yourself, and pamper yourself. 07:03
Lesson 4: Never confuse standing up for yourself with being disrespectful. 11:28
Lesson 5: Patience is a virtue but can become a vice if you practice it too much.15:21
Lesson 6: Looking for contentment and making your passion your job is worth more than money.21:23
Lesson 7: Make a list of priorities in your life and allot time for each of them based on your priority 27:30
Lesson 8: If you believe in something, make it happen 33:47
Lesson 9: Don’t be scared of the negativity or failure in life, make it a learning moment. 35:22
Lesson 10: Keep growing in your field and never be afraid of change but embrace it. 41:03
Rachna Nath – Patience is a virtue but can become a vice if you practice it too much.
[00:00:08] Diana White: Hello, and welcome to 10 lessons learned where we talk to leaders and luminaries from all over the world to dispense wisdom for career, business, and life in order to make the world wiser lesson by lesson.
[00:00:23] My name is Diana White and I’m your host for this episode. Our guest today is Rachna Nath. Rachna Nath is a Time recognized innovative teacher and is also an internationally recognized innovator entrepreneur, a NASA solar system ambassador as well as a National Geographic educator. She is the co-author of the SD G four corporate handbook set forward by the United Nations.
[00:00:52] She has master’s degrees in entomology, which is insect science and developmental genetics. Some of her award achievements include. Governor’s celebration of innovation award teacher of the year global innovation award from Turnitin honorable mention for the presidential innovation award for environment educators in the United States, Rachna continues to help her students start companies based on their scientific research and has numerous mentions, accolades and recognition within the stem community.
[00:01:28] Welcome Rachna.
[00:01:30] Rachna Nath: Thank you Diana. Thank you so much for inviting me to attend lessons learned and I’m really, really grateful to be here today.
[00:01:36] Diana White: Oh, I am grateful to have you. And I just, you know, wish our viewers and listeners, if I had listed her, all of her accolades, viewers and listeners, we would be here for two hours.
[00:01:47] So you’ll see her full bio in the comment, section so that you can, uh, check that out. Rachna I’ve got a question for you before we get to your lessons. Sure. What would you tell your 30-year-old self.
[00:02:01] Rachna Nath: I would tell myself that to be a little bit more open minded and be more accepting of others’ mistakes, because I realized that everybody is the way they are because they have their own backgrounds and their own baggage.
[00:02:15] So instead of judging people for who they are just look deeper into who and what they are doing and why they are doing it so that you appreciate life and yourself a lot better than anybody else. And that’s what I was not when I was. When I look back, I felt that I used to judge people a lot. And then I realized, no, uh, that’s not the right approach.
[00:02:36] So yes, I just, I would say that go back and become nonjudgmental because I don’t know what background who’s, where they’re coming from.
[00:02:44] Lesson 1: Believe that destiny will lead you to where your impact is most needed.
[00:02:44] Rachna Nath: So
[00:02:45] Diana White: I agreed. We are off to a great start. I love that one. So, your first lesson, believe that destiny will lead you to where your impact is most needed. Um, tell me how you came to know that to be true.
[00:02:59] Rachna Nath: So, life had its own ups and downs, but for me, it was extremely difficult when, uh, in 2016, I came to know that I could not finish a PhD degree, that I wanted to finish after 13 years of my first master’s. I was extremely displeased at the fact that I was starting to join as a high school teacher, which I never wanted to be.
[00:03:25] And I realized after being literally thrown into this spot, that okay. And I have to find myself to do something because I was a failure to not be able to finish my PhD. Five six months into the program or even teaching, uh, ninth graders honors bio. I get an email, uh, in my spam mailbox and it was from Lemelson-MIT, and it was for a $10,000 grant opportunity for my high school students projects.
[00:03:54] That was an innovative idea and an innovative idea had to solve a real-world problem. So, I started that and six years after. I realized that that is what I am meant to do. That is what I, my passion is. And I did not realize that I could achieve that by being a high school teacher. My idea was to be more, okay, I need to get a PhD.
[00:04:20] I need to be a medical doctor to have impact. But never thought that destiny would push me in a direction where my impact will be maximum. And I’m so grateful that I did not finish my PhD. And now I’m working with these high school students, connecting them with careers and opportunities that they have never thought they would be able to ever achieve.
[00:04:42] So that’s why I say that destiny has a way to push you where your impact’s going to be. The maximum.
[00:04:50] Lesson 2: Empowering students with curiosity is empowering the future.
[00:04:50] Diana White: Now that that leads us right into a segue for your second lesson, which is empowering students with curiosity is empowering the future. That’s a pretty powerful statement. So, tell me about that Rachna.
[00:05:04] Rachna Nath: Um, I’m going to start by giving you some examples, right? So, some of my high school students have done Ted talks. Some of my high school students have won at international science projects and fairs. We have around six traditional patents and two patent pending. As of now, my students have companies of their own that they, and these are not non-profits.
[00:05:30] These are actual LLCs that they have established. And all of that comes from a place where they need to know what they are doing. And when you develop that curiosity in the students to make them understand what they truly want to do other than just academics and getting a good grade and getting into a good school, they do so much better.
[00:05:51] And that’s how I feel that I understand if they get into something that they truly want to do in the future, they they’ve, they bloom like a flower. So that’s why I think that with that aspect, you know, they have to have that curiosity and we as instructors, educators, mentors have to show them where their curiosity is because most of the students, they don’t have any idea what they’re doing other than taking classes, doing homework and going and getting a earning on the grade.
[00:06:21] So that’s why I say that it’s, if I, if we give them that curiosity and we understand, and we make them understand what they’re trying to do, they are our future and they will do wonderful things. So that’s why I say empowering the future. Because that’s what we need to start doing other than what we usually do on a regular basis.
[00:06:41] Like, let’s go to school, let’s do homework. Let’s do some volunteering. No, we need to make them understand what they truly want to do and not what we want them to do.
[00:06:50] Diana White: Yeah, I know some of your students and I got to tell you, I don’t know how you feel now, but I am so glad that you didn’t go the doctor route because you were, you were touching a lot of lives.
[00:07:03] Lesson 3: Be your own advocate, value yourself, and pamper yourself.
[00:07:03] Diana White: So, I’m Ugh. Anyway, lesson number three.
[00:07:08] Rachna Nath: Thank you.
[00:07:10] Diana White: Be your own advocate, value yourself and pamper yourself. Talk to me about that one.
[00:07:17] Rachna Nath: Okay. I mean, there are lots of things, uh, to talk about it, but I’m going to give you a really short example. Coming from India, uh, we have grown in a culture where, uh, we are taught not to be disrespectful to elders.
[00:07:33] And we oftentimes confuse between what is disrespectful and what is standing up for yourself. And this happened again with, the instructor, with the professor where I was actually doing my PhD in at ASU. And I remember, uh, in a meeting with my PI and one of my other, other professors who was also in my committee, uh, I had already bought in two publications and whole lot of, you know, collaborations with other universities.
[00:08:06] So this professor, uh, tells me, tells the other professor that, oh, Rachna doesn’t deserve this. I think she has not done this to deserve another first authorship in the paper. And I sit there. You know, and I’m trying to say something, but then I realized, oh, these are elders. These are my professors. I shouldn’t say something to them.
[00:08:30] I kept quiet. And there’s one thing that haunts me till date as to why didn’t I stand up for myself because that is not true. And I realized after a few months that we he’s leaving ASU and he’s going to a different country. So potentially he was trying to see if some of the students would get out of his lab so that he would have minimal things to do when he moves over mm-hmm and he doesn’t have to carry the burden of, you know, having students with him or whatever.
[00:09:02] So I need to make sure that my students understand that if you do not advocate for yourself, nobody else will. That’s a very strong statement for students to understand because most of these people are people pleasers. They look at pleasing others more than thinking about themselves. And now I’m trying to tell everybody that if you do not advocate for yourself, no one else will.
[00:09:30] If you don’t value yourself, no one else will. And if you don’t pamper yourself, no one else will. So, you have to take good care of yourself and grow so that people will see and appreciate you for who you are. And. Who you want them to see as who you are.
[00:09:49] Diana White: So now what do you consider pampering? I’m curious.
[00:09:54] What is your, what is your outlet? What is your pampering?
[00:09:57] Rachna Nath: My pampering for myself is sleeping. I am actually a huge power, napper. So, uh, even though I work 36 hours in a day, my power naps, help me immensely. You know, I can take a quick 10-minute power nap, and I’ll be up and ready for whatever comes to me next.
[00:10:18] So, uh, for me, it’s that for somebody, it might be just talking nicely to somebody else. You know, and being there for people and it’s different for different people. For some, it might be just, let’s go and get some ice cream from Coldstone and like spend 10 $30, 30, $30 at one time. But it doesn’t matter.
[00:10:38] Pampering is different for different people. And again, they have to identify what makes them happy so that they’ll value their own life. Otherwise, it’s a lost cause. You know, and I have learned that through a lot of experiences. And like I said, everybody has their ups and downs, but one of the thing I truly like to talk to my students about is that these are life lessons that I have developed after 40 something years.
[00:11:07] And I don’t want you guys to suffer to the same thing, but. Learn and understand that there is always you who to take care of yourself.
[00:11:17] Diana White: And that is why we do this show, everybody learning those lessons, we make the mistakes. So, you don’t have to, I don’t know if that’s a slogan or not, but I love it.
[00:11:28] Lesson 4: Never confuse standing up for yourself with being disrespectful.
[00:11:28] Diana White: I love it. Now let’s go to lesson number four, never confuse standing up for yourself with being disrespectful. And this, I think goes back to that other lesson with your, with the professors. But talk to me about that.
[00:11:43] Rachna Nath: No. And again, that was, that was just one of the examples I can give you another example where, you know, um, I was in a job where I was being assessed and, it was COVID and, I was told that I was not doing a great job and I said, and that was something that was a real implementation of a new, uh, idea.
[00:12:02] And. And I tried to mention this to, uh, my manager saying that, you know, this is COVID, I’m trying to do the best I can, but I did not. Right. I did not. Again, going up to, I did not stand up for myself. I did not explain the situations where, you know, it has to have, you have to communicate. That’s the basic line.
[00:12:26] You cannot just, the, anything cannot be a one-sided convers. You know, you have to make the other people understand what your lens is. When we talk about lenses, we have to understand each other, each other’s lenses. I might be biased in a lot of things, but when I see things from your eyes Diana, I understand where you are coming from, where somebody else is coming from, or just to talk about, you know, why do kids behave the way they do?
[00:12:53] It’s because people that they’re not seeing others through their lenses.
[00:12:56] Diana White: Right.
[00:12:57] Rachna Nath: Or other lenses. So, Like I said, I, you can never, never be wrong for standing up for yourself because that is not what disrespectful is. I’m not asking you to fight with people or you talk back to your elders in a way that’s disrespectful with a bad tone.
[00:13:16] But when you stick to what is true, that is not being disrespectful. That is standing up for yourself.
[00:13:22] Diana White: Yeah, that’s one of a similar lesson that I had to teach myself, growing up in management is that you, you shouldn’t mistake my confidence for arrogance. Right. And I, and I often have to, even, even now years, year years later, I have to constantly remind myself when I feel that the person that I’m talking to, or the group that I’m talking to is looking at me in a certain way.
[00:13:53] I have to say silently to myself, you’re confident. However, they interpret that is their interpretation. You have to stay confident. And I lo I love, what you said in lesson four, because that that’s the same kind of analogy.
[00:14:08] Rachna Nath: Absolutely. I get it. And I as an individual, and I know you have told me this before.
[00:14:14] When I say that I have a huge, uh, you know, inferiority complex or, you know, I have a huge imposter syndrome. Um, I have realized now that that is because I’m not confident about myself, you know, I’m not aware of what I am doing. And so, it’s very hard for me to take a compliment because I feel that I am being selfish for whatever reason. Again, it goes back to and ties back to the culture that we come from. Right. Uh, we were, we have, we are always, we always shun away from praise because if not, then people would think arrogant. So, uh, it everything is. tied. And then I realized, you know, if people are truly seeing something that I’m not seeing, maybe they’re right, you know, it’s me versus everybody.
[00:14:59] And it comes down to self-confidence, comes down to self-realization. And again, admitting that you are good at something does not make you arrogant. It just makes you realize who you are and the impact that you’re having on the community. So, you’re absolutely right.
[00:15:16] Diana White: I love it. And, and so this is one of the things that I know about you.
[00:15:21] Lesson 5: Patience is a virtue but can become a vice if you practice it too much.
[00:15:21] Diana White: You are a very patient person. So, when I read lesson number five, I said, oh my gosh, this is awesome. Lesson number five, patience is a virtue, but can also become a vice if you practice it too much. So, I know you’re talking from experience, so share with us.
[00:15:39] Rachna Nath: Correct. So, like I said, I mean, patience is something that I have immense of, but you know, I’ll give you small examples of patients in my classroom.
[00:15:49], so I usually end up giving my students very strong, directions as to what really pisses me off. What does not piss me off. What makes me laugh? What makes me cry? But then when you have a new batch of students coming in at the beginning of the year, right? You don’t want to be too scary. You don’t want to be too lax.
[00:16:08] So I make, I’ve learned to give this balance where they understand what’s going to trigger Ms. Nath, what she really likes and what she doesn’t like. Now, uh, there has been many a case where, you know, I, I teach a course called biotechnology, so biotechnology one and biotechnology two. My biotechnology, one kids.
[00:16:27] I have most of them already had them meet for my honors bio. So now I’m meeting them for a second time. Okay. Some of these biotechnology, one kids now, I, this year, I am getting them for a third time biotech two, which is three years consecutively in their four years. So, this one guy. Love him to death.
[00:16:50] Absolutely adorable. Right. But then when you have a teacher for three years, and then you are working with the teacher for science projects, and you have seen her non strict side, when you, when you’re seeing her as a person. That buys you, you know, chips and drinks, because they’ve been working with the teacher for a long time.
[00:17:11] Sometimes these students have worked with me since, till nine, till eight o’clock, nine o’clock at night. So, I always go back and buy something because either maybe they’re hungry, but they have seen that side of me too. Right. So, when I come back to class, They tend to take a little bit of advantage on you.
[00:17:26] Like, Hey Mrs. Nath what’s up. I’m like, Hey, I’m really good. But remember it’s class right. So, and not everybody has the same kind of relationship with me as they have had because they have had it, but my three years, and they have seen all my different sides. So, I had to actually talk to some of these students and said, Hey, you know what?
[00:17:50] I have immense patients. I love you guys understand I’ll do anything for you guys, but the moment you cross that line in class with other kids, that’s not going to be pretty, a very simple example. Right. So, and there has to be respect. So, if you, and I’m not even. You know, connecting this to respect, but it’s more the comfort zone that they come into where they’re like, one of my students went today and like he was holding my shoulders.
[00:18:18] and like, Ms Nath. I think I’m going to remember you forever. I’m like, oh my God, dear me too. But the moment you enter my class, you’re my student and you’re not my friend anymore.
[00:18:33] Diana White: there’s no, there’s no time for friendship in the classroom. There is. I get what you’re saying now. Yeah, I get what you’re saying. You know, for me, I’m blessed to have a lot of. My inner circle be, um, extremely educated. I mean, you’ve got two master’s degrees in subject matters that I don’t, I didn’t even know they existed.
[00:18:54] Right. Uh, I’ve got a lot of, PhDs, around me. I interviewed, Dr. Cindy Banton, who, you know, as well. And when, Dr. Banton and I hang out, you know, it is Cindy. You know, we’re very comfortable as soon as someone comes on the scene.
[00:19:11] If I know them great. If she knows them great, if they’re a stranger, great. It doesn’t matter who they are. It is always. Dr Banton, you know, this is, oh, meet my friend, Dr. Cindy Banton. It’s that level of respect, because it can be a slippery slope, I think, especially for other people, especially for children, students watching, and they see this one student, Hey, he gets to call her, you know, Mrs. N, you know, let’s do that too. No, that’s not necessarily appropriate. You have not spent the same amount of time due diligence. On these projects, you’ve got not gotten to know each other that takes time. And so, I think in a sense, keeping that level of respect, especially in the classroom is giving them, an interdiscipline that they won’t understand until much later in life, you know?
[00:20:05] Rachna Nath: And then you have to model it though. You have to tell them that that’s. So, I have, I have quite a few instances where I had to pull those kids, which I love to get don’t get me wrong. I have to pull them and say, Hey, you know what? I understand where you’re coming from. I love you too, but you are not going to create a situation in my class where others will think that they can get away with anything.
[00:20:31] And definitely you are not getting away with anything. There you go. Yeah. So, I get it.
[00:20:38] Affiliate Break
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[00:21:23] Lesson 6: Looking for contentment and making your passion your job is worth more than money.
[00:21:23] Diana White: Let’s welcome back Rachna Nath and continue with lesson number six, lesson number six, looking for contentment and making your passion your job is worth more than money.
[00:21:35] That hit me really, really hard because you know, growing up, all I heard was get a good job that pays you. Good money. Get a good job that pays you. Good money. There was never a separation of the two. There’s always good money. Good money. Talk to me, tell me how you got to this lesson.
[00:21:51] Rachna Nath: Okay. I understand that we need money to survive and you know, we have to have our basic needs met, but I also feel that along with that, to be happy to be contented, to be passionate about what you do is also extremely important for your mental peace, you know, for, for realizing who you are, what is your.
[00:22:15] Aim in this world. And it ties down to my point, number one, and number two, because when I realized what my destiny is or what my goal is in life and what my passion is in life for me, what drives me is passion. Basically. It’s not the amount of money I’m making and I’m happy. I am extremely grateful. I’m extremely humbled.
[00:22:38] I’m extremely passionate about what I do. Because I have learned who I am, you know, and, and this ties back to so many of the lessons that I have learned in life, not to, uh, judge anybody, you know, not to be able to, say that I’m tired or, you know, I want to just take a break that’s okay. But it comes down to what makes you happy for who you are.
[00:23:06] And again, a lot of people are driven my money to a point I am too. But for me, the most important part is I have to know that I am happy where I am and where I’m working. And that’s where I would love to be.
[00:23:19] Diana White: I agree. and I think that I hope, I hope that we are not the anomaly, that we were both able to find a way to do what we love and have it actually be lucrative for us.
[00:23:33] I used to tell my daughter all the time, find a way to do what you love or find something to love about what you have to do.
[00:23:44] Rachna Nath: Right.
[00:23:44] Diana White: One or the other. and I honestly believe that it, you know, I, I, I’m not a big proponent of that. If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life, but you know, it’s work I love what I do, but it’s work, you know?
[00:23:56] Yeah, of course. But I do believe that if you love what you do. I don’t, I wouldn’t necessarily say the money will follow, but you internally find a way to make your wages work for you. You do? Sure. Um, I’ve discovered that personally.
[00:24:13] Rachna Nath: No, and, and I, I agree.
[00:24:15] but what truly makes you happy is, and I, like you said, it is still work. You know, like I said, I work 36 hours a day. If that is something that is truly possible, but with my power naps and with my passion and with the fact that I can actually do what I truly love.
[00:24:36] It becomes easier. A lot of people ask me, how do you do so many things Rachna? I said, I don’t know. It’s just because I’m passionate. I just find time, you know, and my power naps, of course definitely help. And I also definitely sleep more than seven hours a day, but it, it just happens when you truly are invested in what you want to work for.
[00:25:00] Diana White: And I, and I feel like, you know, again, in both of our cases, but really more for you, all of the things that you do and, viewers and listeners I’m privy to her litany of activities. Mrs. Nath is a busy woman, but they all fall under the same umbrella of stem, science, and discovery. And I believe that.
[00:25:24] While it’s still work. I find that if it all falls under the same umbrella, it’s not like, and, and there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s very honorable to have different jobs and different revenue streams from different baskets, but it’s not like you’re going from teaching science during the day to mopping floors at night.
[00:25:45] To doing hair in the afternoon to working on cars. You’re not going from industry to industry, to industry. I think that would be unmanageable, but everything you do in your life always ties back to the love of science and learning. And that’s one of the things I admire the most about you. You are so steadfast in.
[00:26:06] The way you absorb knowledge. I didn’t think that one had the capacity to have that much knowledge in their head.
[00:26:13] Rachna Nath: thank you. I don’t think I have too much, but you know, uh, I do learn, I do absorb, um, and my way of learning is just observing people and I, I cannot tell you how much I have learned from you, Diana.
[00:26:27] You know, I, to be very honest and, uh, I think that is what comes from being respectful and looking at others from different lenses. You know, if I’m here sitting here and judging people like, oh, why are they behaving like this? That doesn’t help me in any way. You know, you have to be open, you have to be nonjudgmental, and you have to find a way to find your passion.
[00:26:52] That’s what I struggled with. Most of my students, I actually had. Meeting with one of my, uh, past student’s, parents for his brother who is an, who is entering ninth grade now and has no clue what he wants to do. And I said, you have to find it. Just make a list of five things that makes your passionate come out.
[00:27:15] And then we’ll talk about it on Monday. So that’s what it, it, it’s all, it comes down to curiosity. It comes down to passion for students, and it’s very hard for a 15, 16, 17-year-old person to identify what truly motivates them.
[00:27:30] Lesson 7: Make a list of priorities in your life and allot time for each of them based on your priority
[00:27:30] Diana White: It’s true. Lesson number seven, make a list of priorities in your life and allot time for each of them based on your priorities.
[00:27:39] Rachna Nath: Yeah, so it ties down again to me working with 36 hours in a day, but I schedule my time. In such a way that I know what I’m working for at that moment. I’m going to say something that probably I shouldn’t for all the students, but I’m a procrastinator.
[00:28:01] Diana White: No.
[00:28:02] Rachna Nath: I am. And, but, but see, the thing is, I also tell my students that I can be an extreme procrastinator because I am a very good planner.
[00:28:15] I don’t let it affect me because I plan everything to the utmost detail, which of course, you’re not going to see it when you come to my classroom with papers everywhere. But, in order to be a procrastinator, you have to be a planner too. And that’s what I say. When I say you have to know your priorities, you know, what is the next most important thing you have to do in order to get things done?
[00:28:38] I have had, very important people in my life. Tell me, you have Rachna you have so many balls in the air, right? How do you do it? And I said, I agree. I had so many balls in the air, but you also have to admit that I make sure those balls fall in the right exact positions where you’re supposed to, once that is done.
[00:29:00] Diana White: Well, that is one of the most powerful lessons I’ve heard since I started this show. because what you hear throughout life is don’t procrastinate. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t procrastinate. You never hear, Hey, if it’s in your DNA to procrastinate. How do you work around it so that you still deliver?
[00:29:21] Rachna Nath: Right.
[00:29:21] Diana White: What do you promise to yourself that you’re going to do that so that you still deliver, knowing that you have the tendency to do this? And I don’t think a lot of people really talk about it. It, it, they talk about it as a fix. We need to fix that procrastination, right? Not. Not find tools so that, you know, we know it’s part of our, our nature.
[00:29:41] How do we find tools around it? That was enlightening.
[00:29:45] Rachna Nath: Thank you.
[00:29:45] Diana White: I think I think I’m going to write a whole book on that.
[00:29:51] Rachna Nath: make me a co-author. I can help you.
[00:29:53] Diana White: No, because I actually do the same thing Rachna I, I procrastinate as well. And you know, You’re absolutely right. I’ve become subconsciously so good at planning that I can do something at the 11th hour, and it still turns out. Okay. Everybody’s okay. I personally don’t like those feelings of anxiety that I get when I know that I’m coming up to the deadline.
[00:30:19] I haven’t mastered, still staying calm in the eye of the storm, but I’d like to get there.
[00:30:25] Rachna Nath: Can, can I take you an example of my extreme procrastinate?
[00:30:29] Diana White: Please do.
[00:30:30] Rachna Nath: So, I actually have a really good news to share. I’ll tell you in a second. So, I got more when our friends texted me saying that, Hey, Rachna, uh, you do apply for a Fulbright scholarship, look at this opportunity.
[00:30:43] And, uh, and it requires you to go to India for four weeks. In the middle of Thanksgiving. Uh, and I said, no, I’m not doing it. I mean, I’m going to miss so much of school and all of that. Right. So, on the day of the due date, like five hours to the deadline, I’m like, should I, do it? Should I not do it? Should I apply?
[00:31:05] Should I not? Like why not let’s apply? Right. So, I wrote out a whole bunch of, because it was essay required. And I was able to finish that essay and submit everything four minutes before that deadline. Diana, because I had plans, I had already written so many grants I had already written so many other essays. So, all I had to do was make it stick and relevant to that particular idea.
[00:31:34] And I got in.
[00:31:37] Diana White: What?
[00:31:39] Rachna Nath: Yes, I’m leaving for India, the 28th of October for four weeks, traveling to four rural villages and learning about their sustainable ways of living coming back to US, uh, helping in writing curriculum that will be distributed in K-12 schools for learning environmental impacts.
[00:32:02] Diana White: Congratulations.
[00:32:04] And listeners and viewers. This is, you know, we talked about this quite briefly, uh, towards the beginning of the episode where, Rachna mentioned, uh, I don’t often like to talk about myself and my achievements. I feel like it’s bragging. And so, uh, listeners and viewers, I’m going to give you a little. Uh, story here when Rachna and I hang out, and we meet new people.
[00:32:29] I am usually the one telling everybody all of her accomplishments, because she’ll just say I’m a science teacher and I’ll go, uh, yeah, hold on a second. Let me take a deep breath so I can give you the rest of this information and that I will have to. Fulbright scholar
[00:32:49] oh my goodness. Congratulate. That’s amazing. That’s an amazing accomplishment. And I mean, you just keep getting the recognition that you deserve for all of the things that you do for these kids and to propel science into the forefront for males and females for boys and girls. It is so important these days.
[00:33:11] We talk about stem and steam all the time and how. there are some critics that say, we’re, we’re losing the battle of education to, the criteria of test scores, national test scores. Right. And I, and I hope that is not the case, but I can tell you from what I see of what you teach your kids, that is not the case in your classroom.
[00:33:32] Rachna Nath: No, no. And it actually ties down immediately to, you know, My ninth lesson because it just, and I’m not ready to go ahead of you, but I truly agree with what you said. It is something that we all have to value.
[00:33:47] Lesson 8: If you believe in something, make it happen
[00:33:47] Diana White: Very true, but it is still a segue into lesson number eight, which is if you believe in something, make it happen.
[00:33:55] So you sat there, and you said, ah, five hours before the deadline. I don’t know if I believe in this. And all of a sudden you said, wait, should I believe in this? And then you write it. And then it happens. I, so literally if you believe in something, make it happen.
[00:34:10] Rachna Nath: And I, I was extremely surprised to get the phone call the very next day.
[00:34:15] And that’s when I elaborated on what I love to do and to hear the program director was going, oh, we can do this. We can do this. I’m like, no, no, no, no let’s just stick to one thing right now, let’s finish this. And then we can talk about something else, but it does give me immense pleasure. To, you know, just the fact that I have come to a point where I’m not beating myself up for people liking me.
[00:34:42] So I am, I’m not feeling arrogant. I feel blessed that I have people like you around me. Um, and just humbled that, you know, I have been able to create an impact where the students see beyond what they can do. Coming out of a high school.
[00:35:03] Diana White: And they see you still furthering your education in a way by taking on these other responsibilities and going to other countries, which I, I don’t think going to India is going to be such a hardship.
[00:35:17] I think there’ll be time for fun as well as learning.
[00:35:22] Lesson 9: Don’t be scared of the negativity or failure in life, make it a learning moment.
[00:35:22] Diana White: I think this is amazing and tremendous.
[00:35:24] number nine, don’t be scared of negativity or failure in life, make it a learning moment. And this is the lesson that you wanted to refer to. So, let’s talk about that.
[00:35:36] Rachna Nath: So, I told you about the levels on MIT grant that my students started off 2018.
[00:35:42] 2019, we were so damn sure that we would get the $10,000 grant from MIT. It was for a prototype to detect heat stress in, uh, students, which I think you’re very aware of the project. Diana. Because my students presented to you. Yes. And also, uh, we, we had presented to the chamber of commerce in Chandler.
[00:36:08] Uh, we had everything down and then we applied in September and mid-October. I remember getting an email, around, probably around two o’clock and this was my sixth period. And they tell us that we didn’t get in the first final 15 projects that would get the $10,000 grant. I can’t tell you how devastated I was.
[00:36:33] So, because I had made this kid’s work so hard for five, six months to get the application going. So, I’d go up to my principal’s office. And I said, Rob, can I please come in and sit down? And I want to talk to you. So, I said, I don’t know how to tell the kids. But we didn’t get the grant. And I was absolutely wailing. I, and not because the students not because I was sad, but I was more worried about what the kids would feel and how down they would be when they realized it worked so hard and didn’t get the grant.
[00:37:08] So that was absolutely wrong. Bottom for. You know, and they had failed miserably when we talk about so much work and still not getting the results that they were expecting. But then what happened was, after a co, because, because of the project that they were doing, they did get a lot of media attention.
[00:37:26] So, um, I come back from, fall break, which is end of October. And I got a message from the Arizona Department of Health services, asking me to call them back because they saw apparently saw this on the news and they wanted to talk to me. So, I talked, and they invited us, me and my students to one of the conferences that they had.
[00:37:48] And we go there in November. and we figured out that we found out that there was a grant opportunity that they had gotten a huge federal grant and they would like to work on certain projects that are related to heat, stress, and heat stroke. And we were there, right? So, uh, the lady who was the manager encouraged us to write a grant and instead of a $10,000 grant, we ended up with a $50,000 grant for the same project, the same idea.
[00:38:15] So you have to, and, and going back to the, you know, there has, you have to face failure to understand what true success is. And a taste of success and where you were previously, when you failed, you don’t have to be stuck. There, there is always room for improvement. Make your failures your steppingstones for success and continue to try the direction that you really want to get in.
[00:38:46] So I think that is one of the biggest lessons that my students have learned from all these grant writings. Because even though they don’t get one grant and they fail in acquiring the grant, it doesn’t stop them. They keep on going they’ll they they’ll believe in their innovative idea. They’ll establish companies, they’ll write for other grants.
[00:39:05] And still now I’m extremely proud to tell you that these kids have require. Over $150,000 grants. And these are all 9, 10, 11, 12 graders.
[00:39:17] Diana White: So, this project that originally was, you were vying for $10,000 from MIT. MIT turns you down, but at the end of the day, it’s over a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of grants for this life saving project.
[00:39:32] Rachna Nath: Correct.
[00:39:32] Diana White: Um, I would, I would definitely say that that is a, a very powerful learning moment for your students to show them that if one door’s closed, it just means that there are other doors open.
[00:39:44] Rachna Nath: Absolutely. And again, they have to keep on thriving and it ties back to my other lessons. Right. You have to believe in yourself.
[00:39:52] You have to give yourself a chance to fail and believe in yourself and continue with that. Because no one else would stand out for you. You know, for me, I’m here for my students, but I don’t think that without me, these kids would’ve learned the lesson and they would’ve given. I’m really true. Coming back to mentors in your life, right?
[00:40:14] You are one of my biggest mentors.
[00:40:16] Diana White: You’re one of my biggest mentors.
[00:40:21] Rachna Nath: no, and it goes both ways. Like, see, I mean, mutual respect, mutual, you know, accomplishments, mutual, understanding that we learn from each other. And that is what we have to be open about. Because I have just have two masters or whatever that doesn’t make me the master of everything. There is always someone, so many different ways to continue learning and continue growing in that field.
[00:40:47] Just because I have a hundred thousand dollars job doesn’t mean that I have achieved everything in the world. Right. It is a moment that truly makes you who you are when you understand what you’re passionate about. You continue to do what you have to do to make an impact.
[00:41:03] Lesson 10: Keep growing in your field and never be afraid of change but embrace it.
[00:41:03] Diana White: I love it. And that, and now let’s segue into number 10, because this is a perfect segue.
[00:41:08] Keep growing in your field and never be afraid of change, but embrace it.
[00:41:14] Rachna Nath: Yeah. I mean, there are many moments in my life where I continue to feel like, should I continue? Teaching is just what my ultimate goal is. I’m not making a lot of money out of it for sure. but I realize that I have continued to grow because of what I believe in.
[00:41:34] I have not confined myself to academics alone because I tell all my students a few things. When the students come in for the very first time to meet the teacher, it’s a reality check for the parents as well. I tell them, you know, what, if you’re coming to this school, you have to understand that most of these students have a three-point OTP and above.
[00:41:56] Everybody is volunteering. Everybody is playing a sport, doing something extracurricular or the president of a club. So, what makes your kids stand out? What makes your kid different? And that is something that you have to figure out how to grow. So, like I said before, my students have done exceptional things which are outside of these four or five things that high school students usually end up doing.
[00:42:30] I am not saying, and I’m not undermining any of those things. I’m not undermining them at all, but you have to be a person who has to stand out from the crowd. To be able to achieve what you truly want to do in achieving. If you are not putting yourself in that position and you don’t know how to, you need to ask for help, you need to understand what your curiosity is.
[00:43:00] You need to understand what triggers your curiosity and do something that’s truly relevant and not just stick to what everybody else does. And, uh, that’s one of the things that I push my, I have my, I have two kids, my son’s 14 and my daughter’s 16. Um, and that’s what I said, like what truly motivates you let’s do that.
[00:43:26] Let’s not do the same things that everybody else does. Let’s stand up in the crowd. And I have learned that my son plays an instrument that has hundred strings. And I did not put him in a piano because not that piano is not something that will open his mind, but I wanted him to do something different that he can stand out from the crowd.
[00:43:48] You know, I might be wrong. I don’t know.
[00:43:51] Diana White: you know, RA, I already know what your kids have accomplished. You were not wrong.
[00:43:57] Rachna Nath: and I, I know that he may have done exceptionally piano too, but strategically I planned a way the kids that they’re not going to have a lot of struggle. Achieving what they really want to achieve.
[00:44:12] And I think that’s where the mentorship comes in Diana A. Little bit and understanding what’s out there. So, all of these students that we see were our futures. Need this, these kind of mentors will direct them to a path where path of least resistance, you know, uh, where they will flourish in their own.
[00:44:37] So the students that I’m extremely proud of all of my students, they have been working on various projects. I cannot even start talking about some of the projects. It’s just incredible, but they have found their passion and that drives them. And I think that is what you have to see that, um, you know, you have to change your mindset.
[00:45:01] You have to understand that these kids nowadays are not the kids that we were when we were growing up and we have to embrace them. We have to give them the breathing space. We have to give them the creative space that they need to grow and develop.
[00:45:16] Diana White: Well, I love that. Okay. So, Rachna, you got one of the biggest brains I know. Oh, you, you have, your life has had this amazing trajectory and you’ve got a legacy that you’ll be leaving, not just with your own two biological kids, but I feel like thousands of kids, uh, across the, the globe really. So, you’ve learned a thing or two in your life, but what have you had to
[00:45:46] Rachna Nath: That’s a very important question Diana. I mean, one of the things that I really had to unlearn was judging others. I mean, I, when I was growing up was so easy for me to say, oh, what are they doing? You know? I mean, the. It was my attitude. It was nobody else. It was just me. So, I had to unlearn that people are in a certain way because of their culture because of their upbringing.
[00:46:17] And unless we understand where they’re coming from and why they are behaving the way they are, I don’t think we will understand the person genuinely. And for you to have a good relationship with your students, with your kids. You need to understand that. I mean, my son always keeps on complaining that you don’t like me.
[00:46:40] You are doing this. You are love me, mom. Like, well, maybe you’ll realize. A little bit later as to why I’m telling you why I’m telling you and that, that was, and, but again, I do take a moment and step back and listen and talk and sit down and understand where they are coming from. So, yeah. One of the biggest examples of my son yesterday, he was complaining about, uh, the B that he got. And I was really hard on him, like, wow, why did you get a B in this?
[00:47:09] And then he said, you always point out my B’s, but you never point out my A’s and I’m like, oh my God, that’s true. You know, so I had to unlearn the fact that you always need to criticize your kids, but then with him, I know what triggers him. It’s appreciation more and love more. So, you know, it it’s just, you know, you keep on changing.
[00:47:33] You know, I had to unlearn so many things, truly so many things that it has made me a completely different person Diana. Right now, I’m a lot more patient than when I was, when I was, I am a lot more observant. I’m a lot less argumentative. But you know, all of these are life lessons.
[00:47:54] And I think age is age and time is, A perfect medicine for all of this, you know, all the, you know, hurts and the blemishes and the, you know, bad, negative feelings that you have. I think with self-realization, understanding who you are, what your, what triggers you, what makes you tick, all this comes and just blends into one.
[00:48:17] And that brings you peace.
[00:48:19] Diana White: Amazing.
[00:48:21] Rachna Nath: I don’t know if I made sense at all.
[00:48:22] Diana White: You make so much sense. You really do. And I want to thank you for being on the show today. Rachna I truly enjoyed this. Tell us what, what are you up to? Where can we find you? What are you? What are you? Well, we know you’re going to be in India. We know that, but.
[00:48:38] If people want to know more about what you’re doing and your initiatives and how to help kids and maybe be a part of the stem movement, how can we find you?
[00:48:49] Rachna Nath: Well, I mean, the, I’m not a huge social media person, but of course you can find me on LinkedIn. And I also have my one personal website. It’s https://rachnanath.com/.
[00:49:00] It’s my full name.com. And anytime you want to reach me at, just send me a quick ding on LinkedIn and I’m pretty, I’m pretty sure I’ll get back to you for sure. I mean, there are other things I, I don’t know that’s as relevant as just my LinkedIn profile or my website, so you can reach me into my website too.
[00:49:21] So I think that’s the two most, best ways to connect with me.
[00:49:25] Diana White: Love it. Thank you for being our guest today. You’ve been listening to 10 lessons learned this episode is produced by Robert Hossary supported as always by the Professional Development Forum. Please tell us what you think of today’s lessons.
[00:49:41] You can email us at email@example.com that’s podcast at 10, the number ten one zero lessons learned dot com. Go ahead and hit that like button subscribe and turn on the notification bell. So, you don’t miss an episode of the only podcast that makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.
[00:50:01] Thank you to my guests. Thank you everybody. Be safe.