Former Badminton Pro Focuses on Serving Others in Home Country
Aditi Mutatkar MPA'17 Wants to Improve Physical Education in India's Public Schools

Mutatkar with Temoc at commencement

Aditi Mutatkar MPA'17 and UT Dallas mascot Temoc at fall commencement.

After retiring from playing professional badminton in India, Aditi Mutatkar MPA’17 had to figure out her next career move.

The 30-year-old wanted to combine her love of sports with her desire to solve a problem in her country. She found a way to do that while working on her master's in public affairs from UT Dallas’ School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.

“Having played sports for 15 years, I knew exactly how much of a positive impact it made in my life,” Mutatkar said. “I wanted to pass this opportunity of playing sports to every child in India.”

Mutatkar, who had relocated to Dallas after getting married, took courses in the program’s nonprofit track, including management, finance and evaluating an organization’s performance. She focused her research projects on ways to help expand the limited physical education and organized sports available in India’s public schools.

For one of her courses, she designed a strategic plan for Art of Play, a New Delhi-based nonprofit that provides physical education curriculum and training to India’s public schools.

“They were really impressed and offered me a job,” Mutatkar said.

Aditi Mutatkar playing badminton

Having played sports for 15 years, I knew exactly how much of a positive impact it made in my life. I wanted to pass this opportunity of playing sports to every child in India.

Aditi Mutatkar MPA'17

Dr. Sarah Maxwell, associate professor of public and nonprofit management, who teaches the strategic planning for nonprofit course, said Mutatkar is an exceptional scholar with a “heart of gold.”

“The Public and Nonprofit Management program at UTD is proud to have Aditi as one of our distinguished alumni,” Maxwell said. “We know she will continue to change the world through her positive attitude and exceptional intellect.”

Mutatkar plans to start working for the nonprofit in February.

“Aditi’s experience and expertise as an international athlete and a public administration graduate is going to add immense value to what we are trying to do at Art of Play,” said Kshitij Patil, Art of Play co-founder and director. “With our understanding of sports and physical education, we have been able to develop a certain level of curriculum for the students between the ages of 6 and 14 years. However, with Aditi’s knowledge of sports, we can take it to the next level.”

Mutatkar started playing badminton at age 9. In an international career spanning over 15 years, she represented India in major events including the World Championships, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Sudirman Cup and the Uber Cup.

In 2009, she reached her career-best world ranking in women singles of No. 27. The following year, she won a silver medal in the mixed team event in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Mutatkar also holds the distinction of winning five national championships across all age groups. She retired in 2014 due to injuries.

Mutatkar hopes her work will help other children learn about perseverance, teamwork and competition through sports.

“It’s very important that every kid gets a chance to play,” Mutatkar said. “My ultimate goal is to produce at least one athlete from India’s public schools who will bring India an international medal.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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