USINPAC congratulates Indian American Sunil Kulkarni on his appointment as Santa Clara County Judge

Governor Jerry Brown has appointed Sunil R. Kulkarni, who since 2011 has served as a senior counsel in the litigation group at the University of California, to Santa Clara County Superior Court.

A resident of Palo Alto, Calif., Kulkarni, 41, becomes the first South Asian American state judge appointed in Northern California, according to the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California.

(Indian American Paul Singh Grewal in 2010 was appointed a magistrate judge in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Magistrate judges are federal judges.)

Kulkarni told India-West Aug. 30 that he was “thrilled to get the call” from the governor’s office about the appointment, and has practiced “a wide variety of litigation” in the office of General Counsel at the University of California, including civil litigation, administrative hearings, copyright law, patents and labor issues.

Born in Los Angeles, Kulkarni, 41, grew up in King City, Calif., in southern Monterey County.

He has a B.S. from U.C.-Berkeley and a law degree from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law.

The Indian American attorney was a law clerk for Judge Oliver W. Wagner in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California from 1996-97 and held various positions at Morrison and Foerster LLP from 1998-2011, including partner and associate.

“We’re extremely proud that (Gov. Brown) has chosen to appoint the first South Asian state court judge in Northern California, and that this historic appointment has been given to someone who is a pillar in our community,” said Akshay Verma, co-president, SABA-NC.

“It is inspirational to see someone as deserving as…Kulkarni appointed to the bench. His appointment reflects an evolving judiciary that reflects the communities that it serves. SABA-NC hopes that more deserving South Asian attorneys will follow in…Kulkarni’s footsteps and aspire to become a member of the bench.”

He fills a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Marcel B. Poche. A Democrat, Kulkarni will receive a salary of $178,000 per year.

A member of SABA-NC, Kulkarni served as endorsements co-chair and vice president of that organization. He was on the board and treasurer of Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto from 2009-2013, served as volunteer mediator for the Northern District of California since 2011, and was a temporary judge for Santa Clara County traffic court since November 2012.

Married, he and his wife, Sujata Patel, a psychiatrist at Stanford University, have two girls, Asha, 7, and Leela, 4.

There has been a flurry of recent appointments and nominations of South Asians to the judiciary in California and the U.S.

They include Rupa S. Goswami, who was appointed by Gov. Brown to Los Angeles County Superior Court in July (I-W, July 19); Alka Sagar, who was named a federal magistrate judge for the Central District of California (I-W, Aug. 30); and Vince Girdhari Chhabria, who was nominated by President Barack Obama to the U.S. District Court for Northern California (I-W, Aug. 3).

These developments come on the heels of Skikanth “Sri” Srinivasan’s historic appointment and confirmation by the U.S. Senate in May to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (I-W, May 31), considered the second most powerful court in the nation.

Asked about the fact that more South Asian Americans are advancing in the legal and judicial fields, Kulkarni told India-West that he believes it is because “South Asians in my generation” are “more open about law as a career.” Many in earlier cohorts, he pointed out, came to the U.S. as engineers, medical doctors or business professionals.

The younger generation is far more likely to view law as “a new paradigm” for a career, Kulkarni added.

Source: IndiaWest

USINPAC congratulates Indian American Dr. Lalita Shevde-Samant on her election to NIH Study Section

Dr. Lalita Shevde-Samant, associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology and a scientist at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, was recently elected a member of the Chemo/Dietary Prevention Study Section for the Center for Scientific Review of the National Institutes of Health.

Shevde-Samant was selected on the basis of her demonstrated competence and achievement in her scientific discipline.

In her new role, the Indian American researcher will review grant applications submitted to the NCI, make recommendations and survey the status of research in applicants’ fields of science.

Shevde-Samant’s research at UAB focuses on defining mechanisms that regulate tumor progression and metastasis, applying this knowledge to complement and extend current clinical applications and provide additional therapeutic strategies.

Shevde-Samant graduated from the Cancer Research Institute, University of Mumbai and completed her postdoctoral training at the Hershey Medical Center, Penn State University.

Source: IndiaWest

USINPAC supports Indian American Swati Dandekar in her race for U.S. Congress

Nagpur-born Swati Dandekar, now a naturalized citizen of the USA, has announced that she will be campaigning to become a candidate of the Democratic Party for the Congressional district of Iowa.

Dandekar believes the foundation for success is an excellent education. She was brought up in Nagpur and went to the JN Tata Parsi School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Nagpur University and a postgraduate diploma in dietetics from Bombay University. She reached Iowa in 1973 and has been there since.

After holding several public service posts, Dandekar became a legislator from Marion area in the Iowa House of Representatives from 2003 to 2009 and served in the Iowa Senate from 2009 to 2011. From 2011 until recently she served as a member of the Iowa Utilities Board. Over the years, Dandekar has become known for raising a voice for job creation and advocating advanced technology.

Dandekar is the fifth to announce a run for the Democrat 2014 nomination to run for the seat. She has made agriculture, advanced manufacturing, technology and renewable energy the main planks for her campaign.

I am running for Congress because I truly understand the promise that the U.S. offers and I want to make sure that every Iowan is given the same opportunity that I had. I am a living testament that the American dream is alive,” she said.

Having chaired the Senate Commerce Committee, and discharging duties as vice chair of the Economic Development Budget subcommittee, Dandekar was elected president of National Foundation of Women Legislators in 2011. The same year she was appointed as Democratic member of the Iowa Utilities Board.

Until her resignation from the board she was a member of National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and served on the NARUC Committee on Tele-communications and the Committee on International Relations.

Swati and her husband, Arvind, reside in Marion, Iowa. They have two sons, Ajai with wife Allison, and Govind, his wife Shaneeda, and daughter Ayaana.

In public service

  • Born in Nagpur in March 1951, Swati Dandekar attended JN Tata Parsi School.
  • Graduated from Nagpur University.
  • Holds PG diploma in dietetics from Bombay University.
  • Emigrated to Iowa, USA in 1973.
  • Represented Marion area in Iowa House of Representatives from 2003 to 2009.
  • Iowa Senate member from 2009 to 2011, chaired Commerce Committee and vice chair or Economic Devpt Budget Committee.
  • Elected president of National Foundation of Women Legislators in 2011.
  • From 2011 until recently, was member of Iowa Utilities Board.


Source: The Times of India