Brandeis-India Initiative selects inaugural fellows

Program aims to increase the number of students studying and working in India

Inaugural Brandeis-India Initiative Fellows, from left: Sarah Janes MA '12, Jessica Christian '13, William Lodge '13, Nusrath Yusuf '13, David Wilkerson '12, Chenyu "Terry" Li '14, Daniel Tassone '13

Eight students have been named inaugural fellows of the Brandeis-India Initiative.

The fellows program, launched this year with support from Indian parents and friends, seeks to increase the number of students pursuing study and work in India. It also aims to match students' social justice projects with the interests of Indian alumni and partners, and to build mentoring and other relationships. As part of a regular summer internship or study abroad program, fellows will create academic or community-based projects which can be shared with the Brandeis-India community.

Seven undergraduates and one graduate student have been selected. They each will receive $1,000 in project support. Many are combining this sum with support from other university-funded programs.

Jessica Christian '13 is a Health: Science Society and Policy Program/Women's and Gender Studies major and a Science Posse scholar. With support of summer Science Posse funding, she will be interning in Bangalore with the nongovernmental organization Milana, which works to support women living with HIV/AIDS. This internship emerged from a documentary Christian viewed in a Brandeis WGS class and her involvement in Girl Effect. For her India Fellows project, she hopes to connect with alumni in Bangalore as well as bring the experience back through video-blogging and photography.

Melissa Donze '12 is an International and Global Studies/politics major who is currently studying in London. She'll also be interning with Milana, along with Christian, with support of WOW funding. Her India Fellows project will focus 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.

Sarah Janes MA '12 is a graduate student in the Sustainable International Development Programs of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Janes will be conducting her second-year practicum October 2011-March 2012 in Assam, a rural state in northeast India bordering Bhutan and Bangladesh. She will be working with Fertile Ground, an organization that promotes sustainable agricultural practices. For her project, she hopes to set up Skype conversations with Brandeis classes and also produce a short documentary for viewing at Brandeis.

Chenyu "Terry" Li '14 is a first-year international student from China. He'll be based in Dharamshala, a hill station known for its large Tibetan exile community. He'll be 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 planning to study culture and literature in New Delhi in spring 2012. His program has a community service option, which he is hoping to turn into his India Fellows project. He intends to volunteer with a school of music and performing arts.

Daniel Tassone '13 is a psychology major who is planning to study contemporary Indian culture and public health in spring 2012 in Pune. As part of his program and his India Fellows project, he will seek an internship in a psychology department or research project.

David Wilkerson '12 is an anthropology/pre-med major and South Asian studies minor who will be in Bangalore with "YUVA for SEWA", an organization that works on hospital visits and doctor support. He'll be keeping a journal and doing photography, and hopes to work this into a presentation for his fellows project.

Nusrath Yusuf '13 is a neuroscience/IMES major who will be interning in New Delhi as a Louis D. Brandeis Social Justice WOW Fellow with Operation ASHA, which aims to prevent and eliminate tuberculosis. For her India Fellows project, she hopes to work with the university's new Delhi alumni chapter to raise awareness of global health issues, as well as present at the EL Symposium and other venues when back at Brandeis.

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