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AIF Announces 2006-07 Service Corps Fellows


08/21/2006

The American India Foundation (AIF) announced the names of the 24 Service Corps Fellows. The AIF Service Corps Fellowship is a selective program that builds bridges between America and India by sending talented and skilled young Americans to work with leading non-governmental organizations in India for a period of ten months. The program serves as an exchange of technical skills and intellectual resources which aims to build the capacity of Indian NGOs while developing American leaders with an understanding of India. The experience is designed to enable committed individuals make a deep impact in the development sector by working at a grassroots level with various NGOS striving to advance social and economic change in India.

The Fellowship is a 10-month program that runs from September to June each year. The year begins with a 10-day orientation program in India, followed by a week long site-specific orientation at host NGOs. During this time, the Fellows immerse themselves with organizations working on causes related to livelihood, primary education, public health and human rights.  Over the past four years, recipients of the  Fellowship have worked on projects which have included efforts to eliminate child labor, educate children in urban slums, provide microfinance for women in villages, increase livelihoods in rural areas through better natural resource management, raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and address women’s and children’s specific healthcare needs.

The 2006-07 Fellows are:

Husna Ali-Khan
MA, Teaching  English as a Second Language, University of Pennsylvania ‘06
BA, Communications, George Washington University ‘02
Education: Byrraju Foundation, Hyderabad   
Husna has worked as a teaching assistant and an ESL tutor at the Germantown Friends School, a private K-12 Quaker institution.  During her undergraduate years in Washington DC, Husna taught with the America Reads and Upward Bound after-school programs.  Before graduate school, she also worked as a health researcher, first as a project assistant with the National Institute of Health-DC Initiative to Reduce Infant Mortality at Georgetown University, and then as a sleep apnea research study coordinator at the Penn Sleep Center. 

Kiran Bains
BA, International Relations, St. Mary’s University, ‘06 
Education: Vigyan Foundation, Lucknow   
During her senior year of college, Kiran interned with the Institute of Integrated Rural Development in Bangladesh, working on a project on rural women’s empowerment.  Prior to working with IIRD, Kiran conducted a summer research study on women’s human rights entitled, “Women and Globalization:  The Challenge of Sustainable Economic Independence,” at the University of Notre Dame’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.  Her undergraduate years also included service immersions to rural Mexico.

Lydia Butts
BA, International Studies, Southern Methodist University, ‘06
HIV/AIDS: Sahara, Delhi
Lydia has spent the past four summers working and volunteering in India.  In 2005, she interned at the STOP Trafficking and Oppression of Women and Children ,where she taught abused and trafficked women and girls vocational skills to assist in rehabilitation efforts.  In 2004, she was a student intern at the US Embassy in Delhi, where she conducted policy research on trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation in India.  She has also volunteered with various non-profit organizations in Kolkota.

Emily Carlson
BA, Public Affairs, Seattle University, ‘03
Education: Center for Equity Studies, Delhi
Emily has worked for the past few years on improving education in Washington State.  She helped design and implement the 21st Century grant program for the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Washington State.  As a program assistant for the Foundation for Early Learning, she created awareness around the connection between early childhood development and school readiness.  Most recently, as a Partnership Manager at the Alliance for Education, she has developed and managed over 25 grants totaling over a million dollars annually to benefit Seattle’s public high schools.  As an undergraduate, Emily volunteered for three months in Kolkota, India and established a school at a local orphanage.

Sonia Cheruvillil
MPH, George Washington University, ‘05
BA, English and Microbiology, University of Iowa, ‘02
HIV/AIDS: Sargama, Bangalore

While attending graduate school, Sonia worked for the Institute of Medicine, which is part of the National Academies.  Sonia has considerable experience working with nonprofits in issues of social justice, women’s rights, gender violence and HIV/AIDS prevention.  As an undergraduate, she was very involved with the local women’s shelter, Rape Victims Advocacy Program in Washington, DC, she has been part of the team at a local nonprofit called Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive, which provides HIV prevention information and resources to sex workers.

Kevin Cremin
JD, Yale University, ‘00
BA, Political Science, University of Chicago, ‘95
Disabilities: Cener for Mental health Advocay, Pune
Since graduating from Yale Law School, Kevin’s work has focused primarily on the housing discrimination faced by individuals with disabilities.  After two federal court clerkships, he enforced the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act as a staff attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.  While working for the Civil Rights Division, Kevin initiated investigations and filed federal lawsuits to combat discrimination based on race, religion, family status, and disability.  Kevin then became a staff attorney at Goddard-Riverside Community Center’s West Side SRO Law Project, which is a homelessness prevention project that focused on the tenants of single room occupancy hotels in New York City.  During law school he represented low income individuals through the Advocacy for People with Disabilities Clinic and the Housing and Community Development Clinic.  Kevin spent his summers as an intern for the Welfare Law Center and the Brennan Center for Justice in New York, the housing authority of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, and Mental Disability Rights International in Brazil.  Kevin is the author of The Transition to Section 8 Housing:  Will the Elderly Be Left Behind?, which was published in the Yale Law and Policy Review.  He is a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Mental Health Law Committee.

Julia deQuadros
MA, Social Anthropology, School of Oriental and African Studies, London ‘05
BA, Social Anthropology, School of Oriental and African Studies, London ‘02
Health: Hope Project, Delhi 

Julia has been interested in India since the age of 16, when she traveled there for the first time and volunteered in Delhi with the Missionaries of Charity orphanage and with the WHO polio surveillance campaign.  Her graduate dissertation focused on the impact of recent development interventions in the small-scale fishery sector in south India.  Prior to graduate school, she spent five months in Tamil Nadu, working with Students Partnership Worldwide as a peer educator, creating awareness on various health and environmental issues, using non-formal modes of education.  In addition, she aided in the establishment of a lending library and leadership club in the high school within which she lived and worked. 

Solmaz Firoz
BA, Political Science, Columbia University, ‘05
Human Rights: South India Cell for Human Rights Education & Monitoring, Bangalore
After graduating from Columbia, Solmaz worked as a paralegal at Federal Defenders of NY, a public defender organization in Manhattan that represents indigent clients charged with federal crimes.  Throughout her undergraduate career, Solmaz pursued her interest in human rights and international policy outside of the classroom by holding positions at organizations such as Human Rights Watch and the World Policy Institute.  Solmaz was a varsity athlete on the Columbia Fencing Team, a flute player in Columbia’s Music Performance Program, and a Resident Adviser.

Jordan Fletcher
JD, New York University, ‘06
BA, Wesleyan University, ‘00
Human Rights:  People's Watch, Madurai
Jordan’s legal studies focused on human rights, trade and development, natural resources law, and alternative dispute resolution. As a member of NYU’s International Human Rights Clinic, Jordan co-authored a legal brief submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights regarding the United Nations mission in Haiti and states’ international obligations with respect to economic, social and cultural rights. He served as a Notes Editor on the NYU Journal of International Law and Politics.  He also worked in Uganda on issues relating to community property rights and sustainable forestry and in the Environmental Protection Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.   Prior to law school, Jordan lived and worked in San Francisco, where he managed an asylum and immigration project for Tibetan refugees, taught L.S.A.T. preparatory courses, and helped organize a delegation to monitor the 2000 presidential election in Haiti.

Yael Gottlieb
BA, Anthropology, New York University ‘01
Human Rights: Action India, Delhi
Yael has worked for over four years as a fundraiser for Human Rights Watch in New York City, where she specializes in grantwriting for its programs on women’s rights and HIV/AIDS, among others, and manages foundation relations. She has conducted sustainable development work in El Salvador with La Coordinadora under the auspices of American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and helped design AJWS’s Alternative Spring Break program for college students. Yael’s interest in South Asia was sparked a decade ago when she attended college and volunteered at Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity Orphanage in Nagpur as a Rotary International Youth Exchange student. e She returned to India in 2001 through Emory University’s Hindi language immersion program in Udaipur. She has also served for two years as a tutor under the America Reads initiative and as a full-time substitute teacher at a public elementary school in Manhattan

Tanwi Nandini Islam
BA, Women’s Studies, Vassar College, ‘04
Volunteerism: Pravah, Delhi
Tanwi is a performer, playwright and youth educator.  For the past two years she has been the Artistic Director of the Bushwick Youth Theatre Collective, a program at Make the Road by Walking, a community organization based in Brooklyn, where she has worked with youth for the past two years.  She has produced and performed her play, Nayana’s Passing at NYC’s Dixon Place and at the West End Theatre.  Prior to working with youth, Tanwi Nandini served as a domestic violence counselor and court advocate at the Battered Women’s Services of Poughkeepsie, NY.  Tanwi has traveled to Nairobi, Kenya to create a performance based on interviews with former political prisoners, and is currently working on a play about two women who meet, one exiled from Dhaka, Bangladesh, and one exiled from New Orleans, called Morning, Ella! 

Kasey Kozara
BA, South and Southeast Asian Studies, Mount Holyoke College ‘04
Livelihood: Dwaraka, Bangalore

Kasey has returned recently from Uttaranchal and Rajasthan in India where she held a research position under the guidance of a political scientist.  During her undergraduate studies, she spent a year living and studying in rural Thailand.  Her introduction to local development and social justice studies at Mount Holyoke, combined with volunteer work at a local women’s clinic formed the beginnings of Kasey’s interest in public health. After completing her BA in 2004, Kasey earner credentials in advanced Thai language studying at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. 

Rushabh Kapashi
MPhil, Development Studies, University of Cambridge, ‘06
BS, Economics, University of Pennsylvania, ‘03
Public Health: Sahayog, Lucknow

Prior to his graduate studies, Rushabh worked at the management consultancy of Mercer Oliver Wyman where he advised a number of financial institutions on issues ranging from corporate strategy to risk management. He has worked with clients in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Rushabh has also spent time at Aseema, a NGO in India, where he helped the Chairwoman with various managerial initiatives, most notably in creating a business plan for the products division.  At Cambridge, he is writing a dissertation on the role of the private sector in stimulating rural growth and employment, under the supervision of Dr. Ha-Joon Chang (Winner of the 2005 Leontief Award).  As an undergraduate, Rushabh was the Vice Chair and Undergraduate Head of the Wharton India Economic Forum, a leading US student-run conference on discussion of issues affecting the Indian economy. His team was awarded the Fredrick Gloeckner Award in Entrepreneurial Studies for the best undergraduate plan at the 2003 Wharton Business Plan Competition.

Subarna Mukherjee
BS, Education, Emory University, ‘02
HIV/AIDS: Karnataka Health Promotion Turst, Bangalore

Subarna has served with the US Peace Corps in Honduras since 2004, first working as a public health and education volunteer, and then as a health trainer for other Peace Corps volunteers.  Prior to the Peace Corps, she worked for the Georgia Division of Public Health as a Nutrition Services Coordinator, which focused primarily on affecting physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, breastfeeding, and reducing sedentary behavior through policies and environmental changes.  She has also worked for the Richmond County Health Department and AIDS Treatment Initiatives in her home state of Georgia.

Bhavana Nancherla
BA, Mathematics, Barnard College, ‘02
HIV/AIDS: Lepra India, Secunderabad

For the past year and a half, Bhavana has served as the Operations Coordinator at Sakhi for South Asian Women, an anti-domestic violence agency working in the New York metropolitan area, and as an Advanced Peer Educator at the Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition against HIV/AIDS (APICHA).  Bhavana has also taught mathematics and written standardized testing preparation materials. She discovered an enthusiasm for development work and women’s issues while in India, where she spent time building houses in rural Orissa with Habitat for Humanity, and learned about the Sardar Sarovar Dam resettlements and the work of Narmada Bachao Andolan. In addition, Bhavana is a certified Emergency Medical Technician.

Nicole Patel
BA, Political Science, Northwestern University, ‘06
Livelihood: Kutch Mahila Vikad Sangathan, Bhui
During college, Nicole has worked with diverse refugee communities in the Chicagoland, teaching English, life skills, and providing mentorship to adults and children.  Nicole helped co-found an annual university conference on Human Rights at Northwestern University.  She spent her junior year of college studying in Santiago, Chile, where she researched the effects of US foreign policy on small Latin American villages.  She has also spent a summer on a research project in South Africa, where she examined citizen empowerment in community development projects. 

Vikas Raj
BA, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania, ‘04
Livelihood: Unitus-Ujjivan, Bangalore
Vikas has spent the last two years at Deloitte Consulting, working as a Business Analyst with in the strategy and operations group in multiple industries.  He has helped numerous Fortune 500 companies with corporate and strategic issues. Vikas also has previous experience working directly for a global consumer products company, where he assisted with various market research initiatives.  Vikas spent a recent summer working for US Congressman Frank Pallone in Washington, DC, where he focused particularly on Indian issues.  He also spent one summer living and working at the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan School in Chandigarh assisting in teaching mentally challenged students. 

Yamini Rao
BA, Chemistry and Anthropology, Dartmouth College, ‘06
Livelihood: Byrraju Foundation, Hyderabad
Yamini’s passion to serve in India started with her volunteer experience in Andhra Pradesh with Mediciti Hospital’s Rural Health Outreach Project.  She was one of the founding members of the Dartmouth Coalition for Global Health which serves as a structural support network for student initiated projects in global health.  Yamini is also the Editor in Chief of the global health journal Standpoints, which provides a space for dialogue on global health and development issues on campus.  Yamini has also served as the president of Milan, the South Asian Students’ Organization, and Vandana, the South Asian Dance Troupe at Dartmouth College in an effort to raise awareness of South Asian issues and culture.  She has volunteered in Belarus and Nicaragua as well

Marjorie Schulman
MA, Urban Planning, New York University, ‘02
BA, Cultural Geography and History, Clark University, ‘97
Livelihood: Freedom From Hunger, Kolkata
Marjorie is the Program Director of two micro-enterprise development programs in Brooklyn, New York that serve individuals with mental illness and physical disabilities.  In this position, she is responsible for overseeing day to day operations, as well as providing direct service to clients, leading advocacy efforts, developing program enhancements, and speaking publicly about the programs.  While in graduate school, Marjorie worked for the Center for Excellence, an organization that promoted inclusive and transparent democracy efforts in New York City.  She also worked for the Trickle Up Program, where she facilitated relationships with community organizations supporting micro-enterprise development.  She has additional work and volunteer experience at the Union of Concerted Scientists, Oxfam, World Hunger Year, and the Open Housing Center in the United States and at a grassroots community organization in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Ajaita Shah
BA, International Relations and Political Science, Tufts University, ‘06
Livelihood: Unitus-Ujjivan, Bangalore
At Tufts, she was a student of the Institute for Global Leadership participating in the 2004 EPIIC Symposium: Dilemmas in Nation Building – America’s Role in the World, and the 2005 EPIIC Symposium of Politics and Fear.  During her senior year of college, she researched Energy Security and Conflict Resolution Tactics for Indian and assessing the maker shifts in South Asia and the potential shift from Politics of Fear to Politics of Opportunity within the region.  She has interned at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars with the Pakistani scholar Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa and in the U.S. House of Representatives with Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY) the co-chair of the India Caucus, through the Indian American Center for Political Awareness.

Kirsty Singer
BA, Gender Studies, Brown University, ‘03
Volunteerism: People's Institute for Development and Training, Delhi
Kirsty most recently worked as a Senior Analyst for the New York City Medical Insurance and Community Services Administration, conducting service quality and operational efficiency research to improve the delivery of Medicaid and other social service programs in New York City.  Previously, as a health planner at the Health Council of South Florida, she helped guide the development of a Consortium for a Healthier Miami-Dade, a public-private health promotion partnership under the auspices of the Miami-Dade County Health Department, and encouraged the small business community to invest in the health of its workers.  She also engaged in community outreach and mobilization with the Florida Public Interest Research Group, and helped develop the Miami Beach chapter of Greenpeace.  During college, Kirsty spent a semester in New Delhi at Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi.

Sabrina Singh
BA, Indian History, Carleton College,‘04
Human Rights: Breakthrough, Delhi
Sabrina has work experience in both the non-profit and the private sector.  She has most recently worked win San Francisco for Women’s Initiative for Self Employment, a microenterprise organization helping low-income women achieve self-sufficiency through business training and ownership.  Sabrina worked both as the Development and as the Client Services Coordinator.  Prior to work at Women’s Initiative, Sabrina was an analyst in the High Technology Department of Accenture Consulting.  She has also done extensive volunteer work for Save the Children, Global Roots, NARAL, and led a volunteer ESL program while in college.  Sabrina wrote her senior thesis on The Emergence of Autonomous Women’s Organizations in Delhi from 1970 to 1983, which included extensive research and interviews with women who initiated some of the first women’s NGOs in Delhi.

Vivek Taparia
BA, Economics and Latin American Studies, University of Chicago, ‘03
Livelihood: Swayam Krishi Sangam, Hyderabad
For the past two years, Vivek has worked with JP Morgan Chase in capital markets.  Prior to this,  Vivek spent a year in Mexico City on a Fulbright grant.  During his tenure as a Fulbright scholar, he studied International Business at the Instituto Technologocio Autonomo de Mexico and interned at the Mexican subsidiary of Scotiabank.  His research in Mexico focused on remittances, the money sent by Mexican immigrants in the US to their relatives in Mexico.  While in college, Vivek interned at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and worked at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires.

Ann Varghese
BA, Communication Studies, University of Kansas, ‘01
HIV/AIDS: Indian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS, Chennai
Ann served in the United States Peace Corps in Cameroon.  As a Health Extension volunteer, Ann’s work focused on HIV/AIDS education, women’s health and infant vaccinations, and community development.  Since her return to the United States, Ann has worked at the hunger advocacy organization, Bread for the World, promoting the ONE Campaign as part of the global campaign against poverty.  Working in three states, Ann educated high school and university students, as well as secular and faith-based audiences on global poverty issues and effective advocacy actions.  She is also actively involved as an executive board member in the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Chicago, an organization that serves as a resource for me



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