Roopali Yadav was studying to become a veterinarian in her home country of India when a roadway accident left her bedridden for six months.
Reflecting on her life and career path, she decided she would come to the United States and pursue a doctorate. Her father, an advocate for higher education, supported her decision.
“He was so proud of the fact that I was coming to the United States, I was coming to Creighton to do a PhD and something good in research,” says Yadav, who, as a veterinary resident, had been on track to open her own clinic.
“He was unconventional. He let me pursue my dreams and think for myself.”
Around that same time, Yadav’s father had become gravely ill. His sickness greatly effected Yadav, who reexamined her professional aspirations.
“The only thing you want when you have a sick family member is a cure,” Yadav says. “That’s something only research can give you.”
She was accepted to Creighton’s doctoral program in pharmacology, a subject she studied in veterinary school, with the aim of becoming a medical researcher so that she could help people like her dad. Her father died just months before she left.
After earning her PhD in pharmacology, Yadav worked in Florida for a while before returning to Creighton as a post-doctoral fellow.
But another scare almost sent her home. One morning in her apartment, she thought she heard something fall from the ceiling. When police arrived, she learned there had been a shooting in her building, and she had missed the bullet by only a foot.
She wanted to go home to India. But a fellow researcher at Creighton convinced her to stay, and offered her a place until Yadav found a new apartment.
“I probably would have gone back home if she had not been so supportive of me,” Yadav says.
Yadav is grateful for her Creighton education.
“Creighton gave me a beautiful experience, and I grew as a person,” Yadav says. “My thinking about a lot of things opened up. I met some of the best people in my life at Creighton.”
She tells the story of a Creighton employee who comforted her when, overwhelmed by an upcoming test and still grieving over the loss of her father, she began to cry.
“She wiped my tears,” Yadav says. “After that, we became family.”
She says her Creighton experience helped her get through a difficult time in her life.
“It was a very good environment,” Yadav says. “Even in my grieving, I could do well and people were supportive. It was my family.”
As a post-doctoral fellow studying epilepsy in Creighton’s pharmacology department, Yadav hopes to give back to society through her research — honoring a University and a father who supported her along the way.