Sunday, April 15, 2012

Helen M. Dookhan – 1979, 1984, 1998

Helen Dookhan
Students are the cornerstone of any university and faculty and staff provide guidance and support so that the students can accomplish their goals. I was fortunate to serve as Student Records Assistant at the College of the Virgin Islands from 1975 to 1978. The records were not computerized in those days; grades and transcripts were compiled manually, yet productivity was prompt and efficient. Even our own Vice-Provost for Research and Public Service, Dr. Henry Smith, was a student when I worked in the Registrar’s office.

Having completed an Associate Degree in Accounting in 1979, I applied for a position in the Human Resources Department. There, I was responsible for all the benefits programs and interacted with the staff and faculty on both campuses. As with the Registrar’s office, the records and forms in Human Resources were not computerized and the bulk of the work was done manually.
In 1984, I was transferred to the Caribbean Research Institute, now the Eastern Caribbean Center. CRI was the research arm of the University, and many publications were produced that addressed the environment, water resources, social issues and other areas of relevance for the Virgin Islands and the wider Caribbean. Fairly substantial funding was obtained from federal sources, the local government and private entities. I worked with the researchers and provided budget updates and assistance with procurement matters in my capacity as office manager, accountant and purchasing agent. At CRI, I was introduced to the personal computer and learned by trial and error. While at CRI, I also worked with the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) selling books and participating in agricultural fairs and conferences.

Ms. Helen Dookhan, Dr. Isaac Dookhan and their five
daughters taken in 1979
In 1994, I became a full-fledged member of the CES staff and served in many capacities. In September 1998, I attended a grant writing workshop in Indianapolis for the CYFAR (Children Youth and Families at Risk) program. It was a new initiative under USDA to help youth and adults in the housing community. Administrators from the Cooperative Extension Service took advantage of this opportunity, and to date the CYFAR program continues to serve the residents in the Virgin Islands housing communities and positively impacts the lives of the youth and families. In the words of the late Senator Edward Kennedy “… the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.” 

Ms. Helen Dookhan still works with the Cooperative Extension Service, now part of Research and Public Service, at UVI.


  1. Thanks for seeing my aunt and the photograph of Uncle Isaac (Prof in History) and my 5 cousins.
    Dennis Dookhan (MD)

  2. I join my brother Denis to thanks for sharing auntie. It is good to see another aunt, my late uncle (father's brother) and my five cousins. I am Rubyand Joseph Dookhan's eldest child. Happy new year to you all.

    Bernice Dookhan-Khan (Ph.D. Cornell Univeristy).


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