Read the blog of current fellows
Photos from our 2011 Fellows
MILANA and Advocacy
by Melissa Donze '12
Hindu Seva Pratishthana
by David Wilkerson '12
Footprints and Stories
by Nusrath Yusuf '13
Explorations in India
by Terry Li '14
by Jessica Christian '13
Brandeis-India Initiative Fellows
The Fellows program offers limited funding for the development of creative projects aimed at building ties between Brandeis University and Indian alumni, partners, and organizations.
Congratulations to our 2013-2014 Brandeis-India Fellows
Left to right: Ariel Magid, Jonathan Wexler, Ankita Sukthankar, Aliza Gans, Rhea Sanghi, Jessica Friedman, Farhat Jilalbhoy (not pictured: Kiran Gill, Molly Lortie, and Alina Pokhrel)
In April, the Brandeis-India Initiative selected ten new fellows to represent Brandeis in India this summer and during the upcoming academic year. Below is a description of each of their projects:
- Jessica Friedman ‘14 is working with Solidarity for Developing Communities (SFDC), a non-profit, secular NGO located in Odisha. SFDC works mostly with Dalit, Adivasi, and minority communities in four districts and utilizes peace-building and rights-based frameworks for its work on education, environment, agriculture, health and livelihoods. Jessica will be working on Monitoring & Evaluation for SFDC’s new Inclusive Schools Program and proposal writing for the scaling up of a hydrology project this summer.
- Aliza Gans ’15 is volunteering in Varanasi this summer as a Communications Intern for The Dove Foundation. This youth-led NGO aims to provide quality healthcare, education, and employment opportunities to marginalized youth. Aliza will be promoting the organization’s online fundraising campaign, creating promotional materials, assisting with events, and writing web content. For her Fellows project, she will be keeping a blog documenting her social justice efforts. Upon returning to Brandeis she plans to host a fundraising event for the organization.
- Kiran Gill ’15 is interning with Vogue India and MD Media this summer in Mumbai. At Vogue, she will work with the Marketing Department to facilitate the second annual Vogue Fashion Fund India. For her fellows project, Kiran will be blogging about the arts and fashion scene in Mumbai.
- Farhat Jilalbhoy ‘14 is undertaking her practicum for the Heller School’s Sustainable International Development program at the Deshpande Foundation in Hubli, Karnataka from September through April. She is interested in working on sustainable livelihoods. While in India, she hopes to report on internship highlights, interviews with Brandeis alumni, tips to students interested in working in India, and opportunities for non-profit internships.
- Molly Lortie ’15 is interning with the organization Ritinjali in New Delhi in June. Ritinjali is a non-profit that works with marginalized individuals, providing education, employment and internships, vocational training, and income generation activities. Molly will be assisting with their Dalil Ekta Camp initiative in Vasant Kunj – a project to make school accessible to children living in slums.
- Ariel Magid ‘14 is interning with EduCARE India in Januri, Punjab this summer. She will be assisting on a microfinance project with rural women, facilitating educational workshops on financial literacy and health. Upon returning, Ariel will continue to write about her experience, working to bring attention to these community-based efforts in India. Ariel also plans to use her experiences in India as the basis for her MA thesis.
- Alina Pokhrel ’15 is spending the summer in Bhopal volunteering with Sambhavana Trust. She will be responsible for producing publicity materials and preparing a report on the Bhopalis successful struggle for clean water. Alina is especially interested in the healthcare system in Bhopal, and she plans to interview patients and survivors of the gas leaks at the Union Carbide India Limited plant about their experiences with medical clinics. She hopes to use her summer research as the basis of her undergraduate senior thesis.
- Rhea Sanghi ’15 is volunteering with Udayan Care, a Delhi-based non-profit working with youth to improve their employment options through IT & vocational training. Rhea is interested in studying the role of gender in employment opportunities. For her fellows project, she plans to develop a research publication documenting the stories of unemployed youth. As a member of the South Asian Students Association, Rhea will continue to raise awareness about global employment issues upon returning to campus.
- Anita Sukthankar ’15 is spending the summer in Dharamshala, working with the NGO Sankalp. This organization focuses on increasing children’s access to equitable and quality primary education in low-income communities. As an Education Studies major, Ankita will be involved in the Teaching in Schools program, putting the skills she has studied at Brandeis into practice. For the second half of her fellows project, Ankita hopes to work with the Alumni Chapter in Mumbai to organize an event.
- Jonathan Wexler ’13 is returning to Varanasi this summer to work with students at the Little Stars School where he volunteered three years ago. As a Computer Science and Neuroscience major, he has been working on an independent study project at Brandeis to build an interactive website that promotes early education for non-English speakers. He plans to implement this project at Little Stars, a school that provides free education for underprivileged children.
Read more direct accounts from our fellows on the India Fellows Blog: http://blogs.brandeis.edu/indiainitiative/
Brandeis-India Initiative Fellows are student ‘ambassadors’ for the Initiative, a comprehensive effort to strengthen the University’s relationships with India. This year’s ‘class’ will follow in the footsteps of a successful Presidential trip to India in February 2012, as well as other related efforts to build connections and partnerships with organizations, alumni, schools, families, and businesses.
The program cycle for 2013 will be announced sometime during the upcoming academic year. You can find out more in our Frequently Asked Questions section, and you can find a list of possible internship and project sites here. Below, we've listed a few examples of how the program works:
For Study Abroad
Sponsor/Office: Office of Study Abroad
How it works: Students should apply for their 2011-12 study abroad program, or their summer 2011 study abroad program, in the usual manner by following the policies and procedures of the Office of Study Abroad. The funding, in this case, serves as a modest award to help with travel, living, or project expenses. It is contingent upon full acceptance into a study abroad program for 2011-12.
Examples of projects you might undertake: While studying abroad in Delhi, a student works with our partner, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), to develop an arts-based approach to understanding climate change and the management of natural resources.
Funding level: $500 - $1500
For Summer Internships
Sponsor/Office: Hiatt Career Center; International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life
How it works: Students can apply for the WOW, Sorensen, or other international internship program as they typically would, in addition to applying for the India Fellowship. In this case, funding will be limited to $500 - $1000 and will only support the Fellows project (travel, expenses, additional time in the country, etc.), not the internship itself. Ideally, your India project should be directly connected to the substance of your internship.
Examples of projects you might undertake: While interning with a NGO devoted to children's education in Mumbai, a student works with our Mumbai-based alumni to host and document a gathering of Mumbai educational leaders.
Funding level: $500 - $1000 if already awarded WOW or similar fellowship
Sponsor/Office: Individual academic departments; Office of Academic Services
How it works: Again, students should apply through normal channels (ie their department or Academic Services). The funding in this case will support some public display or extension of that research project, in order to communicate findings to a wider audience.
Examples of projects you might undertake: While conducting research on health care delivery in Patna, a student produces a short video about local health issues to be posted on YouTube and presented to the Brandeis community upon return.
Funding level: $500 - $1500, depending on amount awarded for the research fellowship
For a volunteer, service, or independent travel program
Sponsor/Office: See this page for ideas, or check with the Office of Study Abroad or Hiatt Career Center for additional resources.
How it works: In some cases, we will consider other creative projects that build upon a volunteer or service abroad program, for example during the summer, or independent work. However, preference is given to students who secure a formal or sponsored program. Funding is limited to $1500 maximum.
Examples of projects you might undertake: While volunteering in Pune, a student works with our local high school partners and admissions counselors to raise awareness of the Brandeis social justice mission through a creative publication or social media web site.
Funding level: $500 - $1500
About the 2012-2013 Fellows and their projects:
- Tanvi Bahuguna '14 was in Mumbai working at the TATA Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) on cellular behavioral research. She also worked to reach out to "Teach for India" to propose an expansion to the program.
- Hannah Diamond '14 is participating in the Delhi-based SIT Study Abroad program on the relationship between human rights and health in a field-study context and plans to spend her independent study period in India advocating for the rights of the elderly population, working with HelpAge India.
- Jeremy Goodman '14 is also participating in the Delhi-based SIT program on Health & Human Rights. His research interests are related to Indian health policy, ramifications and existing disparities.
- Dina Kapengut '14 worked with Volunteers for Peace in the north Indian city of Dharamshala to develop a research publication on the stories of the Tibetan refugees and Indian population to illustrate the social experiences of such a culturally diverse area.
- Ellie Kaufman '14 is currently in Delhi on the IES Semester Abroad. She plans to volunteer or intern with an NGO in Delhi.
- Xiaoyu (Terry) Li '14 worked with the local Indian NGO Sankalp, through the Love Volunteer program to teach math and English in elementary schools in Dharamshala.
- Marlee Rosenthal '14 is participating in the The Alliance for Global Education’s program “Contemporary India: Development, Environment, and Public Health” in Pune. She is considering two internships in the western state of Maharashtra: 1) BSSK - working with childcare and foster children exploring attachment patterns, nutrition, and medical care; or 2) Ether Yoga - evaluating the effectiveness of yoga on chronic diseases.
- Aneil Tripathy '12 spent the summer working with aboriginal communities in the eastern states of Jharkhand and Orissa to facilitate local educational groups in prenatal healthcare, childbirth and sanitation.
About the 2011-2012 Inaugural BII Fellows
The Brandeis-India Initiative supported seven inaugural 2011-12 student Fellows. They each received $1,000 for the support of their project, which many students combined with other University-funded programs.
The program, launched last academic year with support from Indian parents and friends, seeks to raise the number of students pursuing study and work in India. It also hopes to match student passions for social projects with the interest of India alumni and partners, and build mentoring and other relationships. As part of a regular summer internship or study abroad program, students will create an academic or community-based project which can be shared with the Brandeis-India communities.
Jessica Christian ’13 is a HSSP/WGS major and a Science POSSE scholar. With support of summer Science POSSE funding, she interned in Bangalore with an NGO, called “MILANA,” which works on supporting women living with HIV/AIDS. This internship emerged from a documentary she viewed in a Brandeis WGS class and her involvement in Girl Effect. For her India Fellows project, she connected with alumni in Bangalore and brought the experience back to Brandeis through video-blogging and photography.
Click here to read Jessica's blog from the summer.
Melissa Donze ’12 is a IGS/Politics major. She also interned with MILANA, along with Jessica, with support of WOW funding. Her India Fellows project focused on connecting with Indian alumni on HIV/AIDS and global health issues, and coming back to Brandeis to host panel discussions as part of the student global AIDS campaign.
Chenyu “Terry” Li ’14 is an international student from China. His internship was based in Dharamshala, a hill station known for its large Tibetan community. He worked with “Love Volunteers,” an NGO that places college students from around the world in Dharamshala classrooms to help elementary schools with basic computer, math, and language skills.
William Lodge ’13 is an English major and South Asian Studies minor who is studying abroad in Spring 2012 in New Delhi, studying culture and literature. His program has a community service option, which he is hoping to turn into his India Fellows project. He’ll be aiming to volunteer with a school of music and performing arts.
Daniel Tassone ’13 is a Psychology major who is studying abroad in spring 2012 in Pune, studying contemporary Indian culture and public health. As part of his program and his India Fellows project, he’ll be seeking an internship in a psychology dept or research project.
Click here to read Daniel's blog while he is abroad.
David Wilkerson ’12 is an Anthropology major/pre-med and South Asian Studies minor who traveled to Bangalore to work with “YUVA for SEWA”, an organization that works on medical campus, hospital visits, and doctor support.
Nusrath Yusuf ’13 is a Neuroscience/IMES major who interned in New Delhi as a Louis D. Brandeis Social Justice WOW Fellow with Operation ASHA, which aims to prevent and eliminate TB. For her India Fellows project, she worked with our new Delhi Alumni Chapter to raise awareness of global health issues, and presented at the EL Symposium and other venues when back at Brandeis.
Click here to read an article by Nusrath about her experience.