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Get to Know Lumbini Barua


Lumbini Barua is a graduate assistant working with the Women and Gender in International Development (WGD) team at the Center for International Research, Education, and Development (CIRED). Earning a bachelor’s degree in STEM Education and a master’s degree Educational Evaluation and Research from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Barua is an incoming doctoral student in the Instructional Design and Technology program in the School of Education at Virginia Tech. Barua is originally from Bangladesh. 

Tell us about yourself – what interests you? 

I am an experienced social researcher in a wide range of sectors including inclusive education, financial inclusion of women at the bottom of the pyramid, diversity and pluralism, violent extremism, youth development, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

What drew you to international development studies, and more specifically to gender studies?

Being a female social researcher coming from a developing country, I have always been inclined to address gender dimensions in my research. I have also been an advocate for social equity and justice through my articles, op-eds and affiliations with different organizations and initiatives working for a similar agenda. While working with multiple non-profit organizations, I got the opportunity to experience the layers of diversity and inequalities that exist in our society. These experiences inspired me in achieving sufficient knowledge and reaching a certain position so that I can contribute towards making sustainable impacts in the current scenario. My current research interests for my doctoral studies revolve around conceptualizing a framework of distance education for developing countries and formulating inclusive instructional design models in distance learning. I believe that working with the WGD program will be immensely beneficial both for achieving my academic research goals and getting opportunities for collaboration and networking with like-minded people and organizations. 

What books or media have changed your perspective and why?

Books and movies are two of the major sources of my happiness and inspiration. The science fiction of Jules Verne has ignited a scientific inquisition in me; Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe or the movie 12 Years A Slave introduced me to the atrocities that existed in this beautiful earth; the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Siddhartha by Herman Hesse taught me that life can mean different things from different perspectives and it’s okay to question what has been taught to you while you find your own path. Also, some of my most favorite movies like Forrest Gump, the Shawshank Redemption, and Million Dollar Baby taught me to believe in myself and keep pushing forward. 

What is one international experience you’ll never forget?

This is the first time I am getting a degree from or working in a foreign country. I am really excited about the different people, experiences, and learning opportunities that I hope to come across. I look forward to the friendships I will make and learning pathways I will explore.