Fellows building bridges, serving India's needs
Fellowship Q&A to be held March 6 in the Mandel Center for the Humanities
In January, four Brandeis students began their journey to India as Brandeis-India initiative fellows. Following in the footsteps of President Lawrence’s recent trip to Delhi and Mumbai, these fellows are serving as student ambassadors for the Brandeis-India Initiative, an ongoing effort to build the university’s strategic ties to India through strengthening relationships with parents, alumni, educational institutions and organizations. Since 2011, 15 fellows have traveled to India. Currently, Hannah Diamond ’14 and Jeremy Goodman ’14 are participating in the SIT India study abroad program in Delhi on “Health & Human Rights,” Ellie Kaufman ’14 is in Delhi on the IES Semester Abroad and Marlee Rosenthal ’14 is participating in the The Alliance for Global Education’s program “Contemporary India: Development, Environment, and Public Health” in Pune.
The Fellows Program, which is supported by Indian parents and friends of the university, matches Brandeis students’ passion for social justice with the interests and needs of Indian sponsors and partners. For example, the projects completed by four fellows -- Aneil Tripathy ’12, Dina Kapengut ’14, Tanvi Bahuguna ’14, and Xiaoyu Liu ’14 -- earlier this academic year cover a broad range of topics, including prenatal healthcare, sanitation, youth education in poor and underserved communities, and Tibetan refugee experiences. Brandeis is also steadily working to build its collaborations with Indian institutions in scientific research. One 2012-2013 fellow, Tanvi Bahuguna ’14, also used her fellowship time to work at the TATA Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) on cell behavior research.
“I learned a lot during my time at TIFR, and in turn I did manage to build some curiosity about Brandeis and the research that goes on here…” Bahugana says. “It felt great learning about the way college students learned in India, and there were many days spent just talking about the difference in our educations. I enjoyed learning from the other students and I hope that they felt the same when I helped them carry out the experiments in the laboratory.”
After fellows return from their time abroad, they continue to serve as a bridge between Brandeis and India by sharing their projects with the Brandeis community, teaching other students about their experiences, and maintaining ties with friends, families, organizations, and programs across India. The goal of the fellowship is best echoed in a recent post by a current fellow: “At this time I end most of my observations, conversations, and discourse with ‘it is just different.’ I hope that with more time spent here I will get a better grasp of India and be able to make some accurate interpretations, search for explanations, and reach some understanding.” Such understanding is crucial for the strengthening of Brandeis’s ties with Indian alumni, partners, and organizations.
The Brandeis-India Fellowships are open to any undergraduate or graduate student interested in traveling to India for internships, study abroad programs, research projects, or volunteer programs. A new round of applications are being accepted now for projects that will take place this summer or during the next academic year. Awards may range from $500 to $2,000 and can be used in addition to other university funding, as well as personal and external funding. The application materials, which can be downloaded from the Brandeis-India website, are due no later than 3 p.m. on Friday, March 22.