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This profile was last updated on 1/15/13  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Founding Director

Local Address: Tucson, Arizona, United States
Virtual Development Center

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

78 Total References
Web References
Asset India Foundation » Who We Are, 15 Jan 2013 [cached]
Ray Umashankar served on the American India Foundation (AIF) Service Corps for 3 years and was the interim director for one year. He was a volunteer at Casa De Los Ninos, a shelter for abused children in Tucson, Arizona. He is the founding Director of the Virtual Development Center (VDC) which uses technology for addressing societal issues such as clean water access and health care education.
Ray Umashankar left ..., 18 April 2014 [cached]
Ray Umashankar left his deanship at the University of Arizona to found the ASSET India Foundation. He advises FEDU on partnerships.
Ray Umashankar ..., 14 Feb 2014 [cached]
Ray Umashankar
DECEMBER NOTES, 10 Dec 1996 [cached]
The second, Ray Umashankar, was home.I have not written email to him in months and do not think he would remember about our trip.But he said he did.
His suggestion : Go to Tombstone tonight and take in the town in the morning ; forget Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument because with our plan to be back in Phoenix Monday morning, we just would not have the time ; on our return to Tucson on Saturday, visit nearby Sabino Canyon which is just beautiful ; then take in Saguaro National Park on Sunday before heading back for Phoenix.
That made sense to us
The only problem was that by the time we reached the KOA in Tombstone, we learned there were some other great places to see in the general vicinity, Chirihahua National Monument and Fort Huachuca.we will have to see how our time goes tomorrow, but i be afraid we have not allowed enough time.
Just before Tombstone we reached a couple of interesting towns ; Benson, with neat Christmas lights up, and a small town called St. David.
Earlier in the day we had called Ray Umashankar of Tucson.He was the internet contact I talked with on the phone yesterday.He gave us some travel suggestions for the area, and helped us schedule our time.He recommended we visit Sabino Canyon on our way back to Tucson from Tombstone.It was almost 3 p.m. when we reached the area.Along the way we passed an airfield which appears to be a graveyard for old planes.Hundreds of them just lined up on the tarmac.On the other side of the road we saw old junk helicopters.
As we neared Sabino Canyon in the Coronado National Forest, we called Ray.He said he would be out in fifteen minutes.
It was fun to meet him in person.he be an engineering administrator with the University of Arizona.His wife is a professor.He brought along a book he had read recently regarding one man's four-year motorcycle journey around the world.He wanted us to be aware of the book and the author.He thought that might give us some ideas for a book of our own.
We asked Ray to put the state of Arizona on the back of our van.He did the honors very well.Then surprised us by insisting he buy us each a ticket for the tram ride into the Sabino Canyon.He said it was probably too late in the day to start a hike.
As we pulled away on the tram, we waved to our new friend from Arizona.The ride itself was really great.It was narrated which made the area really come alive.Such beautiful scenery - mountains, streams, rockbeds, lots of trees including the green-branched Palos Verde, and, of course, hundreds of Saguaro cacti.One saguaro we saw high up on some rocky cliffs silhouetted against the sky was said to be about 50 feet tall and weigh 5 to 7 tons! Wow.
The Purpose Prize | Ray Umashankar, 6 Sept 2009 [cached]
Ray Umashankar, 66 The Purpose Prize | Ray Umashankar
Ray Umashankar
Ray Umashankar Ray Umashankar's life changed when his 23-year-old daughter returned from India and announced her intention to help children of sex workers and victims of trafficking in their native country. Inspired by her vision, he and his wife looked into the situation and found that most organizations working with these children taught basket-weaving and other low-paying skills that did nothing to offer a way out of the sex trade. An assistant dean in the College of Engineering at the University of Arizona, Umashankar knew that these children needed marketable skills to land jobs in India's growing high-tech sector. Along with his wife and daughter, he created the Achieving Sustainable Social Equality through Technology (ASSET) India Foundation, which has centers in Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata, as well as plans for three more Indian cities. Through ASSET, he also designs computer literacy and English training programs for teen children of sex workers. Watch video profile of Ray Umashankar
Email Ray Umashankar Visit Ray Umashankar's website The Innovators
Meet Ray Umashankar
When Ray Umashankar's American-born daughter Nita left Tucson four years ago to spend a year in his native India, neither dreamed that the experience would change both their lives - and the lives of hundreds of underprivileged children as well.
And there was a lot of competition for these low-paying jobs," Ray Umashankar says. "I knew they needed something unique, and we came upon the idea of teaching computer skills."
That's how the nonprofit ASSET India Foundation (Achieving Sustainable Social Equality through Technology) was born. Ray began to build partnerships and raise funds, while Nita and her mother Dr. Sue Umashankar worked to develop the training program.
Ray also worked with local NGOs to recruit students and hire staff.
"We select 14- to 28-year old students who know basic textbook English and teach them conversational and business English,"Umashankar says. "By training them in skills where there is a huge demand, nobody cares what their background is or who their father is."
As the assistant dean of industry relations at the University of Arizona School of Engineering, Umashankar knew how to get companies to partner with the university to support and nurture talented students. Now he's using those skills to encourage and convince Indian companies to support ASSET and also hire graduates of the program: Tata Consultancy Services, Firstsource, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Aptech and Dell. He promises them entry-level employees with the skills they need.
ASSET also teaches about health issues such as HIV/AIDS prevention, personal hygiene and finance. "As IT workers, they can start at 2500 to 4,000 rupees a month or about $65 to $100," Umashankar says. "They need to know such things as how to handle money and the importance of saving."
Umashankar set up advisory boards of Indian IT professionals, and he hired local instructors and on-the-ground staff. Today, there are 430 students, 290 of whom are girls, at seven locations. The first classes are graduating and 130 students are moving into the Indian job market: 60 in Delhi have been placed in viable positions, and some of the others are pursuing college.
"I feel a responsibility to the country that gave me my education and that gave me the opportunity to come to the United States in the first place," Umashankar says. His own story has its share of heartbreaks. He immigrated to America in 1968 seeking better medical care for a young child, but the child died following a series of heart surgeries. His second son took his own life. "This particular project has been therapeutic for me," he says. "People my age need a reason for a meaningful life, and this has become mine."
"I also suffer from a serious learning disability," he adds, with a twinkle in his eye.
He then asked me to meet him on Monday morning at 10:30 to talk,"Umashankar recalled.
To work in smaller towns and rural areas, Umashankar developed a way to bring internet access through a wireless mesh network using solar-powered routers with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation/Innocentive Challenge.
Ray Umashankar, meanwhile, is constantly in motion, running ASSET from both India and Tucson. His age is an advantage, he says: "When you're younger, you have a fear of failure and fear of being criticized. At my age, I can say and do things that younger people cannot."
It's taken his organization far, but Umashankar remains humble. "Success," he says, "doesn't require any special skill except passion."
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