Personalizing education for better learning

Dr. Rajashree Krishnaswamy, Founder – Catalyze Center for Learning

A scientist turned edupreneur, Dr. Rajashree Krishnaswamy strongly believes in combining the power of education and technology. She feels that class room learning alone cannot cater to the individual pedagogical needs of students and this leads to lacunae in learning. “We are slowly shifting the culture from sit and learn to experience and learn”, says Rajashree. Combining the best of both worlds, she founded Catalyze Center for Learning with a goal is to touch and impact the lives of thousands of children who are gifted in talent but are just in need of the right opportunities and the right mentors. (www.catalyzecenter.com)

Early education being in Chennai, Rajashree did her M.S from Michigan State University. After a 10 year successful career in the Biotech Industry, she pursued her long term dream of having a doctoral degree. As Rajashree interacted more with young minds a dream of contributing something significant in education began to take shape. Catalyze was founded when she was still doing my doctorate in 2008 with the vision of personalized online tutoring, where they provide live one on one classes to address the unique learning needs and capabilities of students.

“It has been an incredible journey so far, deeply satisfying as we are able to make a difference to students across the globe”, says Rajashree.

Their services today are extended to 3 verticals, afterschool help, competitive exam help and business and spoken English. They are proud that 95% of their employees are highly qualified women who work from home.

High point in career

“Finishing my Doctorate was a high point. Getting a doctoral degree is a long and arduous journey and tests one’s resilience and persistence. The birth of my daughter was definitely a high point. Life has been a more challenging and interesting journey after I became a mom.”

Most challenging assignment so far

“I think my most challenging assignment has been entrepreneurship. Even today the concept of online tutoring is not that popular and it takes a lot of energy and persistence to shift the thinking. When we started, we had to educate the customer on the benefits of technology, but in 2013 we saw a palpable change in the market and a shift in the cognition of the benefits of technology in the customer. Online tutoring offers flexibility, convenience, having the best tutors on your screen, bringing the quality of a city to a small town combined with saving time, safety and affordability

Entrepreneurship tests different realms and can be very challenging, but I am in it for the ride and enjoying every minute of it.”

Greatest inspiration

“I think my family is my greatest inspiration. We are an awesome family and share so much. Whatever I do, it is always with them in mind. We bounce ideas off each other and inspire each other to succeed.  I also derive a lot of inspiration from other co-entrepreneurs. I am an avid reader and like to imbibe information that can help one progress.”

Most important milestone in life

“To fulfill the dreams I have for Catalyze would be incredibly satisfying. We have a goal to reach 100,000 tutoring hours in the next year.”

Women are the better halves. What does it mean?

“Experience has taught me that women and men are designed differently and are the complementary forces in nature. Women have greater strengths in many areas, multitasking, people management, crisis management, instinct and gut feel. It is important to stand up for what we believe and know that the power for progress lies in us. One of the greatest qualities of being a woman is that we never really think only of ourselves. We know that progress means taking everyone with us and on some level that makes us better halves with an incredible edge.”