2016 Summer in South Asia Fellows

Grace BeckmanGrace Beckman is a junior with a major in English and a minor in Community Action and Social Change.  After graduation, she would like to work in the field of community engagement with education reform. Grace will be spending six weeks in Jaipur volunteering with Pratham, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of education in India.  Her work will primarily be with the Second Chance program, which provides women who dropped out of school with the opportunity to complete their secondary education and acquire the skills necessary for employment.  Grace’s final project will explore the factors that led women participating in the Second Chance program to originally drop out of school and, in turn, what motivated them to enroll in this program.

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Hanna DoughertyHanna Dougherty is a sophomore with a major in International and Comparative Studies and a minor in Community Action and Social Change.  After graduation, she is interested in pursuing a career in international humanitarian aid with a focus on educational development and youth engagement.  Hanna will be spending 12 weeks in India volunteering with the Jaymang Foundation, an organization that dedicates itself to equal educational opportunities and literacy for indigenous girls and women in the Indian Himalayas. Hanna’s research project will focus on using in-depth community-based inquiry to explore native perspectives of the most pressing issues concerning education that exist in the region, and furthermore, how international humanitarian aid has helped or harmed the path to improvement of the educational sector. By focusing specifically on local perceptions of educational issues, Hanna hopes to re-emphasize the importance of empowerment from directly within communities that receive aid, and thereby push traditional notions of humanitarianism in a progressive direction.

Blog Posts by Hanna


Aaruran ChandrasekharVersion 1 is a second year student with a major in Philosophy and a minor in Mathematics. Upon graduating, he envisions himself as a writer, fashion designer and entrepreneur. Interested in the intersection between art and business, he intends to launch, manage, and design his own ready-to-wear clothing line, fusing western streetwear with traditional Indian garb. Aaruran will be traveling across the country, exploring the relationship between wealth and textile accessibility. Considering the diversity of clothing options – from roadside shops to shopping malls to luxury Western fashion houses – Aaruran is looking to independently study the factors associated with textile industrialization and determine whether they follow the general Indian wealth disparity trend.

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Vaidehi DongreVaidehi Dongre is a sophomore majoring in International Studies with a focus on Southeast Asian political economy and development.   After graduation, she is interested in obtaining a JD/MBA in International Law. Vaidehi will be working with scholars in Pune for four weeks to explore the difference in relationships between female employers and female maids depending on age group and income level.

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Matthew GreydanusMatthew Greydanus is a freshman that is pursuing a degree in Political Science and focusing his studies on a pre-medical track.  After graduation, he plans to attend medical school and has an interest in reconstructive plastic surgery.  Matthew will be interning with IMPACT India, an organization which acts as a catalyst to bring together the Government, the corporate sector and existing NGOs in mass health programs of national priority.  He will be spending five weeks interning on one of their chief projects, the Lifeline Express, which is the world’s first hospital on a train and is celebrating 25 years of service.  The train has medically served more than 100,000 people in rural India, restoring sight, movement, hearing and correction of cleft lips, and many more types of surgery completely free of cost.  Matthew’s final project will explore whether mobile health care is safe, effective and efficient and how this type of care could fill a needed void in rural outreach of health care systems in developed and developing nations alike.

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Samuel McMullen is a Junior sam mcmullenwith a double major in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Philosophy. After graduation, Samuel is interested in pursuing a career in journalism. Samuel is passionate about environmental issues and photojournalism. In the past he has conducted environmental research in China and co-founded the University’s first environmental fraternity. Samuel will be travelling throughout India for four months to document the effects of waste generated by the production of American goods across India. Samuel will document this through video interview, photography, and written work in hopes of shedding light on the impacts on people abroad of our choices at home. Samuel feels that bringing issues, especially ones as impersonal as climate change, onto the human plane is vital to motivating continued efforts to address this problem.

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Tsukumo NiwaTsukumo Niwa pic is a junior with a double major in Oboe Performance and International Studies.  After graduation, she is interested in finding a career that would allow her to combine her passions for social justice, the arts and multicultural understanding.  Tsukumo has engaged in a wide variety of projects dealing with social justice, including the Prison Creative Arts Project, Diversity Peer Educator program at the University Housing, and IGR CommonGround.  Tsukumo will be spending seven weeks in Varanasi volunteering with Nirman, a NGO with a focus on the development and patronage of the arts.

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Hanna Pfershy is a sophoHanna Pfershymore pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering.  After graduation, Hanna is considering her career options as an engineer/ researcher or in the healthcare field. She is passionate about holistic medicine and has recently acquired her certification as a yoga instructor.  Hanna will be spending 4-5 weeks interning in Kasaragod with the Institute of Applied Dermatology, an organization with a focus on research and application of integrative medicine – combining the benefits of Allopathy with Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Yoga and other traditional Indian medicines to treat difficult skin and sexually transmitted diseases.  Hanna’s final project will focus on how this organization has innovated and modernized classic Ayurveda medicine by combining it will Allopathic and Homeopathic treatment to fit the present conditions and needs of its patient population.

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India SolomonIndia Solomon is a junior with a major in Public Policy focused on Comparative Urban Policy and Sustainable Development and a minor in Crime and Justice. She is interested in pursuing a career in international policymaking geared towards successful education campaigns and culturally sensitive economic development. India will be spending four weeks in Bangalore volunteering with Bubbles Centre for Autism, a specialized school for children on the Autism spectrum that takes an individualized approach to treatment with focuses on building self-esteem and social skills.  India’s final project will explore how grassroots alternatives to treatment and education are improving the future prospects for children with Autism attending this school.

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Madeline StagnerMadeline Stagner is a sophomore who was recently accepted into the Elementary Education program and will be pursing a major in Language Arts.  After graduation, Madeline is interested in teaching in the classroom for several years and eventually pursuing a career in education policy. Madeline will be spending six weeks in Bangalore volunteering with Sparsha Trust, an organization dedicated to educating marginalized children.  She will be living in a girls shelter that houses and educates roughly forty children. Madeline’s final project will explore how an academically focused residential program facilitates reintegration into mainstream education.

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