Making the move from Texas to South Georgia in 2019 was an easy trip for Nikita Mirajkar, PhD, chair of the department of biomedical sciences and associate professor of pharmacology. The move was quite a bit easier compared to her previous transitions, specifically from her hometown of Mumbai, India to Stillwater, Oklahoma.
But she knew the moves were necessary to follow her passions.
“While growing up, I always wanted to be a veterinarian,” she said. “I practiced as a veterinarian in India before moving to the United States, but I soon made the decision to pursue research. The United States had many research opportunities, so I moved here to explore that career path.”
However, while pursuing her PhD at Oklahoma State University, she began teaching histology to veterinary students.
“That’s when I realized teaching was my true calling, and I’ve never looked back. For me, teaching is so satisfying—to see that comprehension dawn on students. When they have that ‘Aha! moment,’ it’s such a high for me. I love when students ask me questions during my lectures because that shows me that they are digesting and analyzing the material. I don't think anything could ever compare to that feeling of satisfaction.”
After receiving her PhD from OSU, Dr. Mirajkar joined the faculty of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy where she taught students in the PharmD program for over a decade. During this time, Dr. Mirajkar received 22 teaching awards, including Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Faculty and Most Influential Professor awards. She also received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching award as well as the President’s Excellence in Teaching award.
Throughout her teaching career, Dr. Mirajkar has remained passionate about education. Whether teaching histology, physiology or pharmacology, she believes teaching is the one profession that impacts multiple lives at the same time and directly contributes to the betterment of society. She currently teaches pharmacology to medical students—information she says the students will use throughout their career on a day-to-day basis to save patient’s lives.
While continuing to teach, Dr. Mirajkar also serves as the chair of the department of biomedical sciences. In this role, among a myriad of other tasks, she is actively involved in the execution of the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine curriculum on the South Georgia campus.
“It has been an interesting experience and has given me a glimpse into the inner workings of what makes the College run,” she said. “I am so excited to see the impact that PCOM is going to make on health care in rural Georgia. We’ll be able to see lives and communities being changed in real time because of our efforts. Something else that is incredibly exciting is that the College is on the cusp of change and is looking to make further improvements to offer an even better quality of education to our students. To be a part of that process while being a member of the founding faculty at PCOM South Georgia is amazing. That’s what I enjoy the most—knowing that I’m making a difference to this distinguished institution as well as the local community one day at a time.”
H. William Craver DO, FACOS, Dean and Chief Academic Officer of PCOM South Georgia, is grateful for Dr. Mirajkar’s willingness to serve in multiple capacities.
“Dr. Mirajkar is a great team player, and she is truly invested in our students’ success,” he said. “Her ability to connect with students and work with faculty to shape our curriculum is outstanding. She is a wonderful asset to PCOM.”
Dr. Mirajkar credits her husband of nearly 17 years with helping her balance work and family responsibilities. Her husband, Dr. Hemant Naikare, is the director of the University of Georgia’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Tifton, Georgia. She has two daughters, aged 10 and 6 years, who attend elementary school. In her down time, Dr. Mirajkar enjoys cooking, reading, listening to music, and watching stand up comedy shows.
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia, which offers a full four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. In addition, a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences will be offered beginning in August 2020. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state, PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students on August 12, 2019, has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit pcom.edu/southgeorgia or call 229-668-3110.
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