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CASI Announces Winners of Summer 2008 Travel Funds Competition!

The Center for the Advanced Study of India is pleased to announce the winners of its Summer 2008 Summer Travel Funds Competition. The funds will be distributed amongst three winners for the CASI-Piramal Foundation Summer Internship at the Grassroots Development Laboratory in Bagar, Rajasthan; undergraduate research projects in India; and graduate (Ph.D.) research in India.

All our applicants had very strong proposals, and the choice of winners was an extremely difficult one for us to make. However, after carefully considering each applications, the Selection Committee has chosen the following students for this year’s Travel Funds.


CASI-Piramal Foundation GDL Summer Internship

Katherine A. Maughan
Ms. Maughan is a junior at the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in political science and history, and plans to attend medical school. She has had a longstanding interest in India, particularly in developmental issues, and wants to use the internship at GDL to advance her knowledge of, and linkages between, development, education and healthcare. Ms. Maughan is also a regular volunteer as Camp Counselor at Camp AmeriKids, a week-long residential camp for children affected by HIV/AIDS.

Kumari Pooja
Ms. Pooja is a sophomore at the College of Arts and Sciences. She is an economics major who is originally from a small village in Bihar. She believes that "if every child is given the basic opportunity to get educated and receive other essential support such as access to healthcare, we can create a good future for all." Through her internship she hopes to be able to understand the local population of Bagar and their needs from the perspective of a development planner. In particular, she wants to look for entrepreneurial opportunities for the Bagar community that will make the prospect of economic development viable.

Rahul B. Reddy
Mr. Reddy is a junior at the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in economics and political science. His interest in the GDL internship stems partly from his interest in India’s political economy and a curiosity to study how to provide basic services when state institutions have failed. While still in high school, Mr. Reddy founded a non-profit, Students for a Healthy America, and developed an awareness and prevention program to combat rising Type-2 diabetes among K-12 students. The non-profit now has 5000 members nationwide.

Stephanie Searles
Ms. Searles is a junior, with a major in Communications and Public Service, and a minor in South Asia Studies. With her long-term goals in international law and development, Ms. Searles hopes to use the internship to study communication challenges in rural communities such as Bagar, and to use that experience and learning towards her senior thesis. At the University of Pennsylvania, Ms. Searles is the President of India Programs as part of the Student Ambassadors of the World (SAW).


Undergraduate Research Project in India

Lavanya Madhusudan
Ms Madhusudan is a junior at the College of Arts and Sciences, with a major in Health and Societies. As part of her senior thesis, she wants to conduct extensive research using field studies on the issue of household factors that influence child under-nutrition in Karnataka, India.

Yashas Vaidya
Mr. Vaidya is a junior at the College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in Political Science and minoring in History. As part of his research, Mr. Vaidya wants to study the primary education system in Bihar, and the factors that affect it, among them economic status, caste and gender, and analyze to what extent state initiative have materialized on the ground. At a later point of time, he also hopes to use some of the lesson from Bihar in studying the fledgling democracy of Nepal, which faces similar issues.

Graduate Research in India

Purvi Parikh
Ms. Parikh is a second year Ph.D candidate in the Department of South Asia Studies. As part of her research project, she will conduct an anthropological study of the Swadhyaya movement that exists in many states in India. The Swadhyaya movement aims to shift the focus of development from state structures to individual empowerment; Ms. Parikh hopes to use her research to understand the new rhetoric of development informed by the movement.