Remarkable Women: Dr. Sangeeta Singg shares her story of how her humble beginnings and hardships turned into honors

Remarkable Women

“I hail from India. I lived in the Capital of Punjab State. At age 17 I came to the United States and since that time, I’ve been raising myself,” Singg said.

Dr. Sangeeta Singg and her ex-husband got their citizenship and came to the united states to pursue education in the 1960s. They both attended Mississippi State University.

“My ex-husband did his PhD I completed my Master’s. I was 20 years old when I completed my Master’s in 1970. We moved to Commerce, Texas because that’s where he got the job. Then he decided I could not go to school anymore because he wanted us to have a child. That’s how our life started. He said one PhD is enough in the family. I wasn’t that strong willed then. It wasn’t anything unusual because in India women, especially this is 52 years ago, you pretty much obeyed what your husband said. So, it didn’t cause any problems at that time for me. So that’s how…we had a son, who is a special needs child, and things went downhill after his birth,” Singg said.

Dr. Singg says, her ex-husband is from a different cast than she is. She says in his culture, female children are seen as a curse and are often aborted, and special needs children are not accepted so he did not want anything to do with their son. While she tried to keep their family together, he quickly divorced her, went back to India and married another woman about two months later in hopes of having many sons.

It was during this period when Dr. Singg’s mother came to live with her. Dr. Singg then pursued her PhD, driving 160 miles a day to attend classes and make sure her son attended a school for special needs children.  

After getting her PhD, her father’s hopes for her came true.

“When I was leaving India his last words were, ‘don’t come back until you are an authority on your subject,’ he meant to get a Ph.D., a terminal degree. So, I felt that I fulfilled his wishes and I also was gainfully employed now,” Singg said.

Dr. Singg has been a professor at Angelo State University for over two decades. She says teaching for her, is a calling and her goal is to inspire her students.

“See I was a little girl from India. Had $25 in pocket when I came. One suitcase. I have many suitcases now,” Singg said.

Another factor she attributes to staying positive and persistent is the faith she found in 2006.

“My life changed 180 degrees. My mantra since then is ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ I just say that. Anytime I’m doing anything. So that’s my way of doing it but I would tell others, whatever you do, give your very best. Whatever you say, whatever you do, if you give your very best, you will be successful,” Singg said.

View Dr. Singg’s Curriculum Vitae.

The following is Sangeeta Singg’s nomination letter:

“I nominate Dr. Sangeeta Singg who is a licensed psychologist and a professor of psychology at the Angelo State University (ASU) since 1981. In 1967, she left India with only $25 in her pocket and her father’s last words to her were “Do not comeback without becoming an authority on your subject.” These words drove her to obtain MA in Sociology (Mississippi State University), MS and PhD in psychology (Texas A&M-Commerce).  Married for 34 years, with her husband’s help she takes care of their special needs son who inspired her to write her PhD dissertation on stresses of parents of special needs children, which earned her the Phi Delta Kappa Research Award. This also led her to serve at the national level of the Bethphage (Mosaic) Foundation Board of Directors. 

At ASU, she started the graduate counseling psychology program and served as the Program Director for many years. In addition to her work at ASU, she is currently serving as the president of the Psychological Association of Greater West Texas (PAGWT). In October 2019, she received the “Top Honors with an Award of Meritorious Service” for ten years. Another prestigious award in February 2019 came from the Three Rivers Counseling Association for her “Outstanding Contribution to the Counseling Profession.”  Some of the other notable professional awards are ASU’s Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, ASU President’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Leadership/Service, Outstanding Leadership in Psychology Award by PAGWT, and Texas A&M University-Commerce’s Ambassador Award. She has been honored to lead the ASU commencements as the Mace Bearer since 2018. 

She spearheaded political action drives via PAGWT that promoted professional excellence in the provision of mental health services to the citizens of Texas. She has worked hard to make it possible for the PAGWT to be the only regional psychological association in the U.S. where the psychologists can complete all required 20 continuing education hours without any fees.
 
She has served on numerous local and national boards of directors such as Tom Green County Division of the American Heart Association (AHA), San Angelo AIDS Foundation, MHMR–Respite Care Providers, Concho Valley Chapter for Autistic Youth, Concho Valley Rape Crisis Center, and Tom Green County Community Action Council. Serving on the AHA board for 35 years, four times as the Board President, she received recognition for her service for over 30 years, was named as the Go Red Ambassador in 2009, and received the “Regional Volunteer of the year” award in 2003. Three organizations (MHMR, Mosaic, and San Angelo State School) that serve the special needs persons in San Angelo are the only recipients of indefinite yearly donations via San Angelo Area Foundation in her trust after son is gone. 

As an underdog for women at ASU, she was the first to bring up the issue of sexual harassment, which resulted in establishing a sexual harassment policy and paving the way for others to come forward. She also was the first one to raise voice against smoking on the campus. She was named a “San Angelo Woman to Watch” by the San Angelo Business & Professional Women’s Club.
 
She is also an avid researcher with 45 publications and 120 presentations.  She has directed 77 master’s theses to completion (more than anyone at ASU). Seeing her former students reach their goals is a major joy in her life.

Although, her father did not get to see her success, but she fulfilled his wish for her.”

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