People of UCA: Pearl Doiphode

Graduate assistant Pearl Doiphode calls on students during class.

Pearl Doiphode is a native of Mumbai, India, and moved to the US in 2018. Doiphode is currently a graduate teaching assistant for the physical therapy program at UCA. 

Being a graduate teaching assistant can be a difficult task because graduate assistants have the responsibilities of both a student and a teacher at the same time. 

In her first two weeks of working as a graduate assistant, Doiphode enjoyed her first experience teaching in a classroom. 

“It has been great so far. It doesn’t feel like my first time, my students have been so good and I get to learn from them too,” Doiphode said.

One of the biggest goals Doiphode has as a teacher is providing students with skills that not only help them pass her class, but will help them in the real world. 

“I believe in gaining enough knowledge, so you can put it to good use in your day to day life,” Doiphode said. “I don’t want my students to just come to class and memorize things for the test and then once the test is over, they forget everything.”

The most important lesson Doiphode wants students to walk away with from her class is knowing that there is more to life than just making money in their field of study. 

“I would want my students to know it’s very easy to run behind money because there’s this big rat race and that is what everyone has been doing. I want my students to be so good at what they are doing that the success will automatically come to them, and they will be earning enough. I want them to be the best in whatever they are doing, it doesn’t matter what they do,” Doiphode said.

Doiphode has enjoyed her experience teaching at UCA and is open to the idea of returning to India and teaching. 

“I have walked in here and it has opened so many horizons for me that I didn’t know I’d explore,” Doiphode said. “It has made me very confident about myself and if I were given the chance to teach in my country, I would like to teach there.”

In addition to the work she does with students, Doiphode works with UAMS to conduct her own physical therapy research  

“I was an intern with UAMS. I worked with soccer players and golfers on their golf swing and these were the patients who [underwent] total hip arthroplasty and knee arthroplasty,” said Doiphode.

In Doiphode’s research, she wanted to find ways to help these patients regain their balance. 

“We worked with them before their surgery and after their surgeory to see how their golf swing has changed and see if it has affected their balance. We looked at their balance and how we could improve that. We created parameters to see how their overall game had changed,” Doiphode said.

The stress and challenges of being a graduate teaching assistant can be very challenging, but having a great support system has helped Doiphode be successful.  

“I have been blessed with so many good people through this journey,” Doiphode said. “They have seen me grow, seen me fall, and helped me get up each time and they celebrate my success.”        

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