Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

The Sobti Family Fellowship

The Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) aims to nurture a new generation of scholars in the study of contemporary India. In line with CASI’s vision, Penn Parents Rajiv Sobti GR’84 and Slomi Sobti, have created the Sobti Family Fellowship to support University of Pennsylvania graduate students in their research related to India’s current politics, society, economy, and international relations.

The Sobti Family Fellowship will provide up to two Penn doctoral students with $12,500 each to develop independent research interests broadly related to CASI’s agenda. The Fellowship award will include an unrestricted $10,000* grant with the addition of up to $2,500 in reimbursed domestic travel expenses, conference attendance fees, and research materials. The award can be received in conjunction with existing graduate funding.

Sobti Family Fellows are invited to join the CASI community. This includes integration into the Center’s wide network of scholars, participation in weekly seminars, and involvement in CASI’s additional activities. Sobti Family Fellows will receive a desk at CASI’s office and will be supervised by CASI’s Director.

The length of the first Sobti Family Fellowship will be no less than one calendar year, and will begin in the late summer or early fall of 2020.


Eligible applicants are current, full-time Penn doctoral students studying contemporary India. Preference will be given to students from social science and modern history programs whose interests align closely with those of CASI. The Fellowship is designed to support either (1) students early in their graduate studies, who are designing the initial stages of their research, or (2) students who have completed their fieldwork and are in the data analysis and writing stages of their dissertation. The Sobti Family Fellowship award cannot be used to support travel to India during the course of the Fellowship year.


Sobti Family Fellows are required to complete the following during their Fellowship year:

  • Contribute monthly to the CASI Student Programs Blog
  • Conduct a presentation at CASI upon completion of the Fellowship
  • Submit a final, written report within 30 days of completion of the Fellowship outlining how the award has advanced their research and graduate studies
  • Students cannot use the award to support travel to India

To Apply

Eligible students can apply for the Sobti Family Fellowship by emailing the following items to Laura Iwanyk, Assistant Director of CASI Student Programs & Outreach:

(1)  Personal statement: students should provide their (1) current research interests and goals, (2) an abstract of their dissertation and summary of previous fieldwork (if applicable), (3) and discuss the Fellowship’s role in advancing their graduate studies. Personal statement should be no longer than 500 words.
(2)  Recent Research or Writing: students should submit a recent example of their academic writing relevant to the application
(3)  Curriculum Vitae
(4)  University of Pennsylvania Transcript: unofficial transcripts and screenshots are acceptable
(5)  Letter of Support 1: from student’s graduate advisor at the University of Pennsylvania
(6)  Letter of Support 2: from an additional faculty member ​(can be from an outside University)

Please submit all documents in PDF format. Please also note that letters of recommendation should come directly from your referee. Contact Laura Iwanyk ( with any questions or concerns.

Applications for 2020-21 are now closed

History of the Sobti Family Fellowship:

The Sobti Family Fellowship originated in 2014 as a post-baccalaureate award to support recent Penn graduates in their efforts to conduct independent research projects in India. Fellows were required to spend at least nine months in India designing and executing a research projects relevant to their academic and professional interests.

In 2020, the Sobti Family Fellowship was restructured as a graduate fellowship to support current, full-time Penn graduate students in their research interests related to India’s current politics, society, economy, and international relations.

Sobti Family Doctoral Fellows:

Apurva Bamezai, Comparative Politics, 2020-21
Sumitra Badrinathan, Comparative Politics, 2020-21

Sobti Family Post-Baccalaureate Fellows:

Annie Liu C'16, 2018-19
Alice Gerow C'17
, 2017-18
Sindhuri Nandhakumar
C'14, 2015-16
Vignesh Selvakumaran SEAS'14, 2014-15