Professor Balan has been with Cal State LA since 2015. She was drawn to the diverse academic opportunities at Cal State LA and the bustling environment of Los Angeles. She has been actively engaged in several workshops and committees including advising, curriculum, assessment, student clubs and more.
Professor Balan was intrigued by computers at a very young age. While in middle school, she was enticed by computer programming. During her early school days in India, Professor Balan chose computers over knitting work, an option given by her school at the time. As a 9-year-old, she was extremely thrilled when she first started to program on a computer at her school. By middle school, she was already adept at a few programming languages. She adds, “I am fortunate to inherit some of my math skills from my parents that helped with the foundations to programming.” Her parents inspired her to the journey of higher education and learning. Always enchanted by books, Professor Balan recalls, “I would go to every book shop in my town during my childhood days to search and read good story books including those of one of my favorite childhood authors, Enid Blyton.” Her father played a significant role encouraging her to the journey of a Ph.D. education. This was a dream - both for Professor Balan and her parents. With the privilege of scholarships from her degree granting universities due to her scholastic record, Professor Balan went on to accomplish her Ph.D. degree from the United States in Information Systems (with her dissertation on data mining and analytics). Professor Balan continues, “Although my father did not live to see the completion of my Ph.D. degree, his dream has been fulfilled.”
Dr. Balan has received several awards for her research work and her mentorship of students. Her research work primarily focuses on Business Analytics, Healthcare, and Information Systems areas. Among her many accomplishments, Professor Balan has been a recipient of awards namely, the Faculty Scholar Award at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in the year 2016, the Most Promising Research award from the College of Business and Economics in 2016, the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Research and Mentorship Award from the College of Business and Economics in 2019, the Graduate Faculty Mentorship Award for Research Activities and Scholarship from the office of Graduate Studies at Cal State LA in 2018, and the Assessment Ambassador award from Cal State LA university in 2021 for her contributions to assessment.
Recently appointed as the Graduate Coordinator for the College of Business and Economics in 2022, Professor Balan adds, “I hope that graduate professionals continue to be empowered with advanced degrees from Cal State LA.” Constantly remodeling her syllabus to meet the industry demands, Professor Balan continuously strives to bring industry projects to her classroom as part of her courses. One of the organizations the professor has currently collaborated with is American Red Cross for her analytics course. Over the years, many of her students have secured jobs in distinguished organizations such as Deloitte, JPL NASA, and Warner Bros. to name a few.
With the computing world still having lesser representation of women, Professor Balan hopes to continue to mentor and inspire many more girls and women to the world of computing and information systems education. She continues, “As is the saying, Books open windows to the world and have the power to transform lives.”
Cal State LA is pleased to have Dr. Balan as a steadfast resource for both students and the greater Cal State LA community.