Dularam sisters make MC a family affair

Dularam sisters make MC a family affair

July 12, 2016

The Dularam sisters could create their own Maryville College alumni chapter. The four young women grew up in Sevier County and, one by one, decided to attend the College – a choice that has had a positive impact on their lives.

“I think they just followed in my footsteps,” eldest sister Sonia ’11 said.

Sonia, twins Monica ’12 and Monisha ’12, and youngest sister Chandni ’16 chose Maryville College for the same reason: a personalized education that comes from small classes and professors who are invested in student success on an individual level.

“I like the smaller class sizes and the open door policy with the professors,” Sonia said of her College experience. “Any time I needed help, I could get help. It felt like a more intimate setting.”

Monica agreed that the College’s emphasis on the student helped her to be successful.

“I liked the fact that it was a small, close-knit community. Everyone knows each other. They’re friendly,” Monica said. “The class sizes are small so you have more personalized learning. You’re not just a face in the classroom. Your professors know you by your name. They encourage you to ask questions because they want to you to be successful.”

The campus’s charm – with its historic buildings and tree-shaded lawns – also influenced the sisters to attend the College. “The environment is nice and peaceful to study outside,” Monica said, adding that a few of her classes were held outside on sunny days.

The young women are the daughters of Mohan and Bhavna Dularam. The oldest three graduated from Pigeon Forge High School, and Chandni graduated from Gatlinburg-Pittman High School.

“We really liked Maryville College when we visited there,” Mrs. Dularam says. The admissions counselor who visited the high school also answered questions when her oldest daughter was considering colleges and provided a smooth transition during that momentous change.

Chandni’s first visit to the campus was during Sonia’s freshman year.

“I just immediately fell in love with it,” Chandni said. “It’s a beautiful campus. It’s small, and you have personal relationships with your professors. I was probably a freshman in high school when I decided this is the college I’m going to attend.”

Chandni, who graduated with a double major in finance/accounting and economics, has started graduate school this summer at the University of Tennessee. She credits her advisor, Dr. Rebecca Treadway, with assisting her along her college and professional career pathway.

“I found it really helpful that they helped me find my first internship. My advisors were really helpful in preparing me for the graduate exam and helping me get into graduate school,” Chandni said. “I still talk to my advisor, and she’s still helping me with everything.”

Treadway said Chandni’s post-graduation success reflects her undergraduate years at Maryville College.

“Chandni has been accepted to the MAcc( Masters of Accountancy) Program at UT Knoxville, which is ranked very high in the nation – I believe seventh. Chandni is very excited about the program,” said Treadway, associate professor of accounting. “She was an outstanding Maryville College student as she was a double major and has engaged in two internships. She also served as a tutor for several of my accounting classes.  She is the model graduate and so kind and considerate."

Chandni’s first accounting internship was with Pennant Foods, which lasted a year, and her second internship, with Dollywood Company, led to a paid position as sales auditor, which she still does part-time.

All the sisters agreed that the College’s core curriculum gave them a deeper understanding of available career options and helped them to narrow their own focus. Sonia’s career as an autism therapist is rewarding work and was inspired by her studies. She majored in child development and learning and as a result of her Senior Study, she was accepted into an internship at Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, which turned into her first job after graduation.

“It was Dr. Ariane Schratter’s ‘Exceptional Child’ class. It focused on kids with disabilities and how to interact with them. We had to do some volunteer hours out in the field,” Sonia recalled. “That really began my passion for working with kids with disabilities. I got interested in autism through those classes. Everything I did at Maryville College kind of reinforced what it was that I wanted to do with my life.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by the twins. Monisha majored in business with minors in accounting and international studies.

“At first, I didn’t know what I wanted to major in, but that’s the best part of the core curriculum: you have to take a little bit of everything,” said Monisha, who now works for an accounting firm. “The first year, there was required science, math and religion. You got a taste of everything and then you decided what you wanted to learn more about.”

Her twin sister, Monica, had a clearer grasp of what she wanted to major in but said the depth of the coursework gave her new insights.

“I knew I wanted to major in business but because of the courses they offered, I got a wider experience of what is in business,” Monica said. After taking Treadway’s accounting class, she realized that she loved accounting.

Mrs. Dularam said that Maryville College helped her four daughters to grow in different ways. Each was able to learn at her own pace and because of the relationships that they built with faculty members, the young women were successful and not as stressed out as many typical college students are.

“The relationship between the professor and the student was really good, and I could see that they were learning,” she said, adding that those collegiate relationships have continued after graduation.

“I’m just very happy and satisfied,” Mrs. Dularam says. “I think they all made the right decision. I’m glad they made the choice to go to Maryville College.”

By Bonny Millard

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.