Sen Kalaimani

PPL Alum Sen

My name is Senthilkumar Muthiyapillai Kalaimani, Sen, by my friends and students.  I was a Mechanical Engineer back in India. I came to the US as a dependent visa holder for a few years. After I finally got my work permit, I struggled to find a new job because there was a considerable work gap in my resume. However, thanks to PPL and other local libraries, I’m now finding my way.

The first impact the library had on me occurred while I was browsing at the Cranston library. I saw and picked up a book on meditation from the shelves. This book seemed to be speaking to me. My grandfather had been a yogi back home, and as I took the book and was reading through it, I decided to follow in his footsteps.  From there, I worked on getting my certification and started to teach Yoga and Meditation classes.

Around the same time, I happened upon a RIFLI ESL conversation at the Cranston library. The students and tutor were so welcoming and they encouraged me to take other RIFLI classes, which I soon joined. My teacher, Margaret, helped raise my communication skills from intermediate to advanced level. She was very compassionate and helped a lot of students like me to improve. I credit this class with helping me pass my Meditation certification exam, as I had to speak to my clients in English, so my improved speaking meant I wasn’t nervous and passed with no problem.

One opportunity leads to another with PPL, and from my ESL teacher I found out about RIFLI’s Microsoft Office Specialist certification ESL course at Roger Williams University downtown. The class was free, including tuition and certification fees. I joined, and successfully completed the Microsoft Office Specialist Certifications. The RIFLI ESL teacher, Chris, worked together with the RWU computer teacher and each cared for every student’s success and went out of their way to help us.

Furthermore, Chris recommended more computer classes at PPL. I completed the Data Navigators Course, where I learned about Tableau software. The course is equivalent to corporate level standards, and the teacher Don’s unique way of teaching was extraordinary. In addition to this, I took the Rhode Coders course offered by PPL for HTML, CSS & JavaScript. The instructor, a different Chris, was very knowledgeable, caring, and patient in addressing the student’s questions.

Not done yet, I took all the Northstar Digital Literacy Certification modules proctored by RIFLI’s Computer and Technology Specialist from PPL. Not only did she help me in getting the certification, but she also helped me to become a proctor for administering the exam for students.

Having the MOS certificates and the Proctor certification for Northstar, I was able to have a job opportunity through PPL as a Digital Literacy Instructor. Later, I was hired by RWU as a Continuous Education Instructor. RIFLI staff helped pave the way for me to conduct various PPL teaching opportunities. I have gained experience teaching a wide range of students who are improving their computer skills, including Teens, English language learners like me, and a staff at Women’s & Infant Hospital. I’m currently still helping PPL by instructing Intermediate Technology Course for a Providence Housing Authority cohort of learners.

Most importantly, PPL provided me the ultimate opportunity to be the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification instructor with RWU, where I started my technology journey as a student. When the Covid-19 situation demanded us to conduct online classes for MOS, PPL staff encouraged and supported me to move to virtual remote classes using webinars and Google Classroom.

The urge for my learning never ends. And PPL is always there to quench the thirst for lifelong learners. My journey with learning through PPL continues as I am currently learning Business English ESL class, with the possibility of starting my own business someday. The staff at PPL strive in their effort to serve the community and help everyone improve literacy and digital skills. I am glad that I am part of this community. The memories of my journey with PPL and the staff will always stay fresh.

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