Student Spotlight: Chandrika Gopal

Chandrika Gopal

Chandrika Gopal
Major: Respiratory Care
Hometown: Naperville

In 2009, Chandrika Gopal and her family moved from Michigan to Naperville. Her oldest daughter was attending Michigan State University and her youngest daughter was in high school. Gopal had worked as a pharmacy technician in a retail pharmacy but was ready for something more.

"I had heard COD's Respiratory Care program was excellent," she said. "Because I earned an arts bachelor's degree in India, I had not taken the science courses, so I needed to first take Anatomy and Physiology. Thankfully, I had fun in Professor (Thomas) Ruehlmann's class, which motivated me to move forward."

After a job shadowing experience with a respiratory care therapist at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Gopal entered the program at COD. As a nontraditional-age student, she wasn't sure how she would fit into the classroom. But that feeling quickly passed.

"The younger generation and older generation students were in absolute camaraderie," she said. "The diversity in the classroom and in the school made it a comfortable yet international experience. I'm happy to say I've made very good, diverse friendships."

In 2012, Gopal earned her Associate in Applied Science degree in Respiratory Care. She was also named one of the year's two Outstanding Graduates. She has been working as a PRN at Edward Hospital since fall 2012.

"I would like to thank my supervisor, Ms. Joan Cecich, for encouraging me to do my best everyday. The working atmosphere and the good team camaraderie makes Edward a top spot for training COD respiratory students as well as for recent graduates," she said.

Gopal credits the strong COD faculty – especially Charles Vanderwarf, Denise Kruckenberg, Judy Turcan-Shoup and Barbara Coe – for giving her a fresh start on a new career.

"This program has made me a strong student," she said. "I'm fully prepared to go out and prove myself."

More about the Respiratory Care program

Outstanding Graduates for 2012


Alexa Alianello and Chandrika Gopal

Each year College of DuPage recognizes graduates whose achievements truly demonstrate determination and success. The Outstanding Graduates of 2012 are both Health Sciences students, but their backgrounds and ambitions tell two different and inspirational stories.