Brandeis-India Fellows 2015-16

The Brandeis-India Fellows Program offers limited funding for the development of creative projects aimed at building ties between Brandeis University and Indian alumni, partners, and organizations.

In April 2015, the Brandeis-India Initiative selected six fellows to represent Brandeis in India during summer 2015 and academic year 2015-16. Below you will find a list of the Fellows and a description of each of their projects:

2015–2016 Graduate Fellows

Kara DeMilio

MA student in Sustainable International Development

Kara is planning to work with an organization in India to expand the parameters of their HIV/AIDS prevention services to address the unique vulnerabilites of transgender people. Prior to Brandeis, she volunteered for the organization Helping Individual Prositutes Survive (HIPS), which utilizes a harm reduction model in order to help reduce the rate of HIV/AIDS infections in Washington, D.C. Through her work at HIPS, she learned that marginalized populations are not often given a platform to express their opinions, thus becoming objects to be spoken for and about. While in India, she hopes to counteract this trend by empowering trans people to advocate for their own rights and healthcare needs. She will be documenting the process through the medium of photography.

Holly Walters

PhD student in Anthropology

Holly is undertaking her pre-dissertation pilot study in the Muktinath Valley in Mustang District, Nepal. Her research will focus on the pilgrimage economies and embodied ritual activities of the primarily Indian and Nepali Hindu pilgrims who visit Muktinath-Chumig Gyatsa Temple. While in Nepal, Holly will undertake Shaligram pilgrimages along with the Indian pilgrims who frequent Muktinath. Her project will explore the links between religious practice and community-building between India, Tibet and Nepal in a time of great social upheaval.

Read more on Holly's fieldwork blog.

2015–2016 Undergraduate Fellows

Marlharrissa Lagardere

Class of ’16

Marlharrissa will be spending the fall semester studying abroad in Bangalore through the Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID) Program offered through the University of Minnesota, where she will be focusing on global education policies. As a Haitian, Afro-Caribbean woman, she will be exploring and discussing the concept of identity, what it means to be a black/brown-skinned woman in a pre-colonized country, and transnational racism. While in India, she will be working with the directors of the MSID Program to compose blog entries and create lesson plans that flow inside the Country Analysis class she is taking. Upon her return to Brandeis in the spring, she plans to work with the  Intercultural Center and the Study Abroad Office to facilitate a conversation on campus about "Studying Abroad While Black." She hopes to publicize her research through creative writing at one of the larger spoken word/poetry slams held in Bangalore toward the end of her program.

Vasavi Nigam

Class of ’16

Vasavi is spending the summer in Mumbai, where she will build upon her Fall 2014 Brandeis-India Fellows project, "Project M.P.U. (Mukti.Pragati.Udaan- Liberation.Progress.Flight.)." Vasavi was inspired to develop the project due to her passion for dance and desire to make a difference in the lives of as many young women as possible with the use of the dance medium. Dance in many ways is therapeutic and, with the right guidance, has multiple times proven to be successful with issues of empowerment and trauma. After successfully organizing a workshop in New Delhi at the Nirmal Chhaaya home, she plans to expand the project to Mumbai and work in collaboration with the Indian government and the Salaam Baalak Trust.

Sara Taylor

Class of ’16

Sara recently returned from a year abroad in Bangalore, where she was enrolled in the Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID) Program (offered through the University of Minnesota). In Bangalore, she worked with the Environmental Support Group (ESG), a non-profit organization, and BuDa  Folklore, an NGO based in Honnavar which acts as a research and educational center focused on collecting folk heritage of the Uttara Kannada region. She is currently compiling a collection of recipes of the region, including a variety of dishes and drinks with information about their medicinal value or historical importance, which she intends to publish and present to the Brandeis community.

Sarah Waldron

Class of ’16

Sarah will be studying abroad in Hyderabad in the summer and fall through the CIEE Hyderabad Program. During her time abroad, she will begin working on her senior thesis, a devised work incorporating film, theater, and dance, which will culminate in a collaborative performance at Brandeis. The project will address concepts of multiculturalism, diaspora, and race- and gender-based stereotypes and oppresion. The courses offered through the CIEE Program will directly inform her project. She also plans to collaborate with local student artists to help shape her final piece.