- A multi-talented personality and teacher-researcher-administrator-Odissi dancer par excellence, Prof. Hejmadi served the Department from 1961 to 1998. She was the Head of the Department for about eight years. As a researcher, she has established the developmental biology laboratory in the department which is a leading center in the country. Her work on the regeneration in amphibians and biology of Olive Ridley sea turtles changed the pace of research on these fields internationally. She has guided more than 13 Ph D students, published several research papers including her path breaking work on regeneration in Nature (1992) and visited more than 20 countries on various assignments.
- Her past national assignments included Visitor/President of India’s nominee to the general Council of IIT’s (1999-2002), and Maulana Azad National Urdu University (2002-2005); Member, Indian Board of Wildlife; Member, IUCN Committee for the draft on Global Sea Turtle conservation and was the Vice-Chairman, MoEF, Govt. of India for the protection of sea turtles in India. She appeared twice in WTO on behalf of Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India. At present, she is serving in many national and state level committees including the General Council of Central University of Tamilnadu, Thiruvarur.
- Her list of accolades is enviably long: Barbour and Fulbright Fellowship for Ph D at Michigan University; Pitamber Pant National Environment Fellowship Award (1991); All India Congress of Zoology Gold Medal (1994); Padma Shri (in Science/Engineering), the highest civilian award of India, in 1998; the highest state award for wildlife conservation – The Biju Pattnaik Award in 2013-14; Bigyan Ratna Award from Odisha Bigyan Prachar Samiti in 2013; Honorary D Sc by Ravenshaw University, Cuttack; to mention a few. She is a Fellow, of Sigma Xi (USA), Indian Academy of Sciences and Association of Aquaculturists.
- Apart from Science, she has contributed significantly in the field of Culture for which she has received many awards including the highest central award from the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi (1996); Upendra Bhanja Award; Nritya Saraswati Samman; Nritya Bharati Samman among others. She was a member of Central Board of Film Certification (2005-2011) and led a Cultural Delegation to South-East Asia under the auspices of I.C.C.R, Government of India during 1989-90.
- Besides her numerous articles on the popularization of science including wildlife and culture, she has three authoritative books on Odissi Dance and Gotipua to her credit. Her autobiography, “Contours of my Life” is an inspiration for younger generations in the field of academics and culture.