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Congratulations to the class of 2014! Commencement exercises were held at Harvard University on May 29, 2014. Former SAI students, including former student interns, Graduate Student Associates, and grant recipients received degrees from various Harvard schools. We wish all students the best of luck in their future endeavors!

Former SAI Student Interns:

Deonnie Moodie

Deonnie Moodie, PhD, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Deonnie Moodie is graduating from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences with a PhD in the Study of Religion.  At Harvard, she focused her research on the region of Bengal, spanning both India and Bangladesh.  Her dissertation is focused on Kālīghāṭ Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Kālī in Kolkata, West Bengal.  She analyzes the ways in which this temple has been discursively produced from the colonial period to the present in tandem with ideas about what constitutes “good Hinduism,” the nature of the city and its colonial legacy, the role of law in religious institutions, modern notions of cleanliness and propriety, and identity among diaspora Bengalis.

As an intern at the South Asia Institute, Deonnie gained invaluable exposure to cutting edge research on the region from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.  In particular, she assisted in the coordination of the “Mapping India’s Kumbh Mela” project.  Working with esteemed faculty and staff on this immense cross-disciplinary research project was a critical component of her Harvard experience.  She will now join the faculty of the Religious Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma as an Assistant Professor.  There, she will teach courses on Hinduism and other South Asian religions, and hopes to contribute to the expansion of programming on South Asia more broadly at the University.

Abigail Russo

Abigail Russo, Ed.M, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Abigail is graduating from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a master’s in International Education Policy. While at Harvard, Abigail conducted research on classroom practices that enhance long-term memory in collaboration with a school in Sydney, Australia. Additionally, she worked with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to analyze how to collaborate with various partners to implement its Global Education Strategy in Kenya. Interning at SAI added tremendously to her understanding of the intersection between research and dialogue in global discourse and policy change.

Former SAI Graduate Student Associates (GSAs)

Namita Wahi, S.J.D., Harvard Law School

Namita Wahi

Namita Wahi recently completed her S.J.D. (doctoral) degree from Harvard Law School. Namita’s doctoral dissertation titled “The Right to Property and Economic Development in India”, traces the historical evolution of the right to property in the Indian Constitution from the colonial period until 1967.” Namita is now a Faculty Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research (“CPR”), New Delhi, where she is leading a research project on “Land Rights, Environment Protection and Inclusive Development in India”. This project is a collaboration between CPR and the Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen and the University of Bergen.

During her time at Harvard, Namita was Clark C. Byse Teaching Fellow at Harvard Law School (2012-2013), and a Law School Graduate Programme Fellow (2008-2012). Namita taught “Politics of India” at Harvard College (2009-2010), and coached the Harvard Law School team for the Jessup International Moot Court Competition from 2008-2012.

Namita was the founding president of the Harvard India Student Group (“HISG”), the first university wide India student group in Harvard’s 375 year history. HISG was created and sustained with the support of the Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession and the South Asia Institute. Namita was also a Graduate Student Associate with the South Asia Institute for four consecutive years (2009-2013), during which time the GSA Programme evolved to provide a space for meaningful interdisciplinary engagement amongst scholars working on South Asia.

Namita was also one of the founding members of the Harvard Law School S.J.D. Association and served as Director of Strategic Affairs for the Association from 2011-2012.

During her S.J.D., Namita worked on projects with the Institute for Policy Research Studies (“IPRS”) where she wrote papers on campaign finance reform and measuring the effectiveness of Parliament for the first IPRS Annual Conference. Through her work with the Fisheries Management Resource Centre (“FishMARC”), Namita represented traditional fishermen in litigation against displacement and deprivation of their livelihoods in the Mundra region of Gujarat.

Prior to her S.J.D., Namita was an associate at Davis Polk and Wardwell in New York, where she litigated primarily bankruptcy, securities, and pro bono criminal defence and asylum law. Namita holds an LL.M. from Harvard Law School, where she was an Inlaks scholar, and B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) degrees from National Law School of India University, Bangalore where she graduated with the first rank in class.

Bilal Malick, Ed.D, Harvard Graduate School of Education

His dissertation project reflects 18 months of fieldwork in  Pakistan, including field‐trips, interviews, and year‐long participant‐observation inside an Islamic seminary. His research focuses on the cultural and religious lives of seminary students and their entanglements within Pakistani society. In his dissertation, he is exploring the  relationships between every‐day practices, religious subjectivities, and sociopolitical projects of seminary‐affiliates. This first  ever ethnography of a male Islamic seminary in South Asia builds upon and contributes to theoretical, empirical, and policy work in two fields: scholarship on Muslim seminary education; scholarship on Islamist politics.


Former SAI Grant recipients:

2013 Grants (Read the 2013 Grant Report)

Dipona BandyHarvard College Class of 2014
Research grant: Transnational and National Approaches to Feminist Organizing around Sexual Violence in India

Benjamin Lamont

Benjamin Lamont, Harvard College Class of 2014
Research grant: Indian foreign policy makers and decision making during 2008 Mumbai Attacks

Ada Lin, Harvard College Class of 2014
Research grant: Excavating the Red Corridor: An Intellectual History of the Naxalite Movement

Danielle Schulkin, Harvard College Class of 2014
Research grant: Tracking Cybernetics in India in 1950s and 1960s

Darshali Vyas, Harvard College Class of 2014
Research grant: Analyzing community-based healthcare in rural Gujarat

Marcelle Goggins, Harvard College Class of 2014
Internship grant: Taktse International School, Sikkim, India

Eva Harvey, Harvard College Class of 2014
Internship grant: Public Health Foundation of India, Delhi, India


Marcelle Goggins, left

2012 Grants (Read the 2012 Grant Report)

Radhika Jain, Harvard College Class of 2014, History of Science
Undergraduate Fellowship at Shots for Shots, Baroda, India

Vishal Arora, Harvard College Class of 2014
Internship grant: Operation ASHA, New Delhi, India

Omer Awan, Harvard College Class of 2014, Applied Math
Internship grant: Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Islamabad, Pakistan

Rohit Chaki, Harvard College Class of 2014, Physics
Internship grant: Taktse International School, Sikkim, India

Louis Cid, Harvard College Class of 2014, Economics
Internship grant: The Center for Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi, India

Virginia Fahs, Harvard College Class of 2014, History and Literature
Internship grant: Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centers, Mumbai, India

Angela Frankel, Harvard College Class of 2014, Human Development
Research with the Harvard-Bangalore Science Initiative, Bangalore, India

Grace O’Neale

Sophia Lajaunie, Harvard College Class of 2014, Social Studies
Internship grant: Taktse International School, Sikkim, India

Jenna Louie, Harvard College Class of 2014, Social Studies
Internship grant: Yuva Unstoppable, Ahmedabad, India

Grace O’Neale, Harvard College Class of 2014, South Asian Studies
Internship grant: VidyaGyan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Jeannie Tse, Harvard College Class of 2014, Social Studies
Internship grant: The Empowerment Group of Friends of Women’s World Banking, Ahmedabad, India


2011 Grants (Read the 2011 Grant Report)

Pearl Bhatnagar, Harvard College Class of 2014
Internship grant: Ujjivan, Bangalore, India

Cayla Calderwood, Harvard College Class of 2014
Internship grant: Asha, New Delhi, India

Kristina Tester, Harvard College Class of 2014
Internship grant: Asha, New Delhi, India