old-Board of Directors

The Indo-American Heritage Museum is supported by a diverse Board of community activists, professionals, scholars, business people and artists.

Gyan Agarwal, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Electrical Engineering, has been a volunteer at the Indo-American Center (IAC) and the Indo-American Heritage Museum (IAHM).

Tamara Biggs, currently Director of Exhibitions at the Chicago History Museum, has been making exhibits for over 30 years. She is especially interested in community-generated projects.

Happie Datt came to the U.S. in 1970 to earn an MS in Food Science at the University of Florida. Since moving to Chicago she has owned several successful businesses, was president of the League of Women Voters, served two years for Peace Corps in Macedonia, and currently volunteers as a docent at Field Museum.

Madhoolica Dear is an interior designer who combines her special interest in “green” projects and technologies with her commitment to celebrating Indian heritage in America.

Lakshmi Menon is a writer and community volunteer committed to inter-cultural exchange and a past president of the Indo-American Center Board of Directors. She serves as a resource for Indian American content in Chicago mainstream media.

Padma Rangaswamy is an historian and author of many works on Indian Americans.  She has taught at major Chicago area universities and worked on neighborhood issues at the Chicago History Museum.

Dorothie Shah, a former history teacher at Evanston Township High School, has served as a consultant to the University of Chicago South Asia Outreach Educational Project, Evenings for Educators at the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago History Museum.

Amita Banerji has over twenty years’ experience in international relocation management and cross-cultural training, working until recently in the corporate sector. She spent several years working in Venezuela where she started an English as Second Language (ESL) School for professionals and children.  She is passionate about sharing the heritage of immigrant cultures and the need to record and foster understanding between these groups.

Dr. Raja Nadimpalli retired from Women’s Health Resources, where she was an internist specializing in primary care for women. She has a keen interest in arts and history.

Kanwal Ghaey is a senior finance manager at Access One International, providing CFO services to start-up, small and medium sized companies, and project related functional expertise to larger companies. He has been a docent at Field Museum since volunteering for the Maharaja exhibition.

Dr. Sujaya Rupani migrated to USA in 1980 after completing Medical School at Gandhi Medical College, Osmania University, and has practiced Ophthalmology in Chicago since 1985. She has served on the board of Avery Coonley School for 11 years, and chaired the annual giving campaign.



Prem Sharma is an accomplished artist who is a co-founder of Apna Ghar, the first South Asian domestic violence shelter in the U.S.  She has served on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Asian Affairs and as a member of the Illinois Arts Council.

Nafisa Bandukwala is a former Chicago Public School librarian who grew up in Mumbai and earned her M.A. at the University of Iowa. She is a regular volunteer in IAHM/IAC cultural outreach programs.

Mannan Bandukwala, a retired Chemical Engineer, was educated in Pune and Mumbai, India and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  A pioneer, he arrived in Chicago in the 1950’s, and is a regular volunteer in IAHM activities.

Jagriti Ruparel, Vice President, PNC Wealth Management, has been in the
financial industry for 19 years.   She is past President of ‘Apna Ghar,’ a Chicago domestic violence organization focusing on the South Asian community.

Ebin C. Ephrem is entrenched in the constantly emerging, constantly changing world of mobile (cellular) technologies, devising and executing on go-to-market strategies for some of the world’s premier enterprise, network and broadcast customers.

Bindu Ganga is a clinical therapist. She conducts local and international leadership trainings and works at NorthShore University HealthSystem to advance public awareness and knowledge of perinatal mood disorders.

Ann Lata Kalayil served as the first woman president of the Indo-American Democratic Organization. She is co-founder of the South Asian American Policy and Research Institute (SAAPRI) and is active in Asian American community organizations.

Shailja Dhruva Khatri is the founder of VividhBharati for families of Indian origin to keep their children in touch with Indian culture and languages.  She is a program manager for mobile and emerging technology initiatives at work.  She has a Masters degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas, Austin.

Susan Patel is an Indian-American business owner and community activist. Her shop, Patel Handicrafts  is a source for South Asian culture and religion. She holds a seat on the 50th Ward Special Service Area (SSA) committee ,the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce board, and  the Local School Council at Belding Elementary.

Shobhana Sanghvi is a founding member of the ILA Foundation, and on the Board of the Indo-American Center. She has supported numerous cultural events including exhibitions at the Asia Society, the Sackler Gallery, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Ami M. Shah is an art historian and epidemiologist.  She examines health disparities and is driven by her passion for social justice.

Surendra P. Shah is Walter P. Murphy Professor of Civil Engineering at Northwestern University where he is director of the Center for Advanced Cement Based Materials. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.


Kulvinder Arora

Basanti Banerji

Rani Desai

Preeti Gill

Masum Momaya

Sravan Kannan

Dina Khdair

Robert Langston

Sonal Nair

Nidhi Nayyar

Nehal Shah

Sita Parameswaran

Bharathi Shetty

Ashveer Pal Singh

Reena Talwar

Manju Crasto

Sree Dutta

Nita Gangwal

Board of Trustees Table

Nafisa and Mannan Bandukwala man the IAHM display at Chicago’s Field Museum.

Board of Trustees

A reception hosted by Indian Consul General and Mrs. Ashok Kumar Attri featured a display of Indian saris arranged by IAHM Board members.