Reflections: 20 Years of Sorensen Fellows

Mrudula Gadgil '18
2017 Sorensen Fellow
The Pro Bono Counseling Project
Baltimore, MD

Read more about the 2017 Sorensen Fellows here.


Mrudula has long been fascinated by the intersection between mental health, cultural values and stigma. This long held interest prompted her to search for an organization that does de-stigmatization work for her Sorensen Fellowship this past year. Her interest in South Asian cultural perspectives led her to The Pro Bono Counseling Project, a nonprofit that provides Maryland residents access to free mental healthcare.

probonoAt Pro Bono, she spearheaded the creation of CHAI, a program that provides culturally competent care and education to South Asian clients.  Gadgil recruited multilingual therapists who could provide this care, reached out to community organizations to form partnerships, and conducted workshops to educate community members and destigmatize mental health.

"At the office, we were inspired to do henna after attending a Henna Night event at the mrudulaMuslim Community Center. Swaran and I had attended in order to establish a partnership and conduct future workshops with the mosque. I got a few henna cones and did henna for everyone in the office. Here, I am doing henna for Barbara Anderson, the tireless executive director of Pro Bono and my supervisor."

mrudulaMrudula was mentored by Swaran Dhawan, a social worker who has been an influential voice in mental health de-stigmatization and outreach in Baltimore for over 50 years. Swaran demonstrated the values of family, community and compassion, and how integral they are to de-stigmatization work

Mrudula is currently a senior studying Biology and Health: Science, Society, and Policy. She is eager to begin a challenging career in public health and/or sales after graduating this spring.