REVATHI – THE STORY OF A RISING STAR
Her parents emigrated from India, bravely pursuing a better life for Revathi Rajagopal Truong. “I wouldn’t have the life I have if it wasn’t for my parents leaving for a country they knew nothing about. I live the American dream.”
Revathi is not only the youngest Associate Dean of Inclusion in the state of Iowa but the youngest sitting Dean in the country. This summer, the 32-year-old was appointed to the newly created position at Western Iowa Tech Community College, which focuses on collaborating with students and faculty, to promote and support diversity and inclusion on campus. WITCC is the first and only community college in the state to utilize this position. “There’s so much to grow. So much to be done. It’s been really impactful.”
Revathi’s robust background with diversity and inclusion has been a lifetime in the making. Raised in a South Indian American household with her brother and sister, it was her family upbringing that taught her the value of hard work and perseverance in order to achieve her dreams. “It takes courage, but it also takes vulnerability.”
Prior to this position, she was an immigration attorney for six years having assisted hundreds of clients with cases relating to citizenship, deportation issues, and employment of foreign labor for local businesses among a wide scope of responsibilities. Responsibilities she still carries. In addition to serving as the Associate Dean of Inclusion, Revathi continues her immigration practice part-time with her own firm, Siouxland Immigration. “Somebody has to fight the fight. Just in the last two years, I’ve helped clients from 52 different countries.”
Revathi is no stranger to adversity. While she fought that fight, she was battling one of her own. She survived domestic violence and even the loss of her father who died by suicide after he’d been struggling with depression for years. As she learned to navigate grief and face life’s tribulations, she opened her eyes and discovered the inner strength she had within. It is this strength that has allowed her to live, not only her life to the fullest but to give the best life to her son Rishi. “Being a parent, nonetheless a single parent, in two demanding careers, some days are defeating. His presence is a constant reminder of what’s most beautiful and important in life, unconditional love. Love for your family, your community, yourself. He’s the greatest gift I’ve ever received.”
“Being grateful is a value because if we lose sight of what we’re grateful for, it’s so easy to fall into the traps of what’s negative in our life. Hardship is one thing, but don’t make it difficult. Don’t make it hard. The world is so hard already. It’s a tough place to be. Be there for your community, your family. Do better and be better.”
Revathi is the Hindu name for a star in Indian astrology.