SAI is excited to welcome three new students to serve as student coordinators for the 2014-2015 academic year. Interns play a vital role in SAI’s operations, including helping with SAI’s Grant Program, assisting with digital outreach efforts, organizing SAI programs in the region, and much more.
SAI Student Coordinators, 2014-2015
Abhishek Raman, Communications and Outreach Intern
A native of New Delhi, India, Abhishek is a Master of Divinity candidate with a focus on Hinduism at Harvard Divinity School. After graduating from Clark University with a double major in Government & International Relations and Sociology, Abhishek initially worked at Harvard’s Pluralism Project on the Case Study Initiative before moving to Chicago to work at Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC). At IFYC, Abhishek managed interfaith student leadership programs, developed curricula on interfaith community organizing, coordinated federally-funded State Department grants to promote interfaith service projects globally, and implemented strategy consulting engagements with institutions of higher education in the United States.
In 2013, Abhishek was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper, a group of leaders under the age of 30 charged with catalyzing positive social change in their respective communities. He serves as a Young Professional Ambassador of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and regularly consults with political organizations and candidates on developing faith-based partnerships. Abhishek is the quintessential political news junkie and spends his free time rooting for the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots.
Divya Sooryakumar, Student Services Intern
Divya a Ed. M Candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the International Education Policy program. She recently returned from three years in Chandigarh, India where she was working with the non-profit organization, Chhoti Si Asha (www.facebook.com/chhotisiasha) as an Indicorps fellow. She worked on a women’s empowerment/employment program, the Stitch-a-Living Program and a children’s educational project.Through the Stitch-a-Living Program, unprivileged women in a slum community are trained to make handbags and bags for events (shameless promotion: Chhoti Si Asha makes affordable custom designs for any event!)
She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Economics and International Studies. During college, Divya fostered her interest in human rights and international development through university organizations such as the Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights and the Global Engagement Summit. Additionally, She spent two consecutive summers working with microfinance organizations in India and Uganda.
Mehjabeen Zameer, Pakistan Program Intern
Mehjabeen, who grew up in Karachi and received her Bachelors degree in Computer Science at the prestigious Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), thought she would spend her career as a scientist, only to discover that it wasn’t her calling and that she was interested in making a tangible impact in her country. She joined Teach For Pakistan (TFP), an internationally recognized, highly selective fellowship of recent college graduates teaching in under-resourced communities. Mehjabeen served as a math teacher for 7th and 8th graders in Karachi, where she taught 220 female students on a daily basis and challenged age-old conservative beliefs about girls’ education.
In addition to her significant workload as a teacher, Mehjabeen worked within the community to engage other teachers and parents in their children’s education and with her TFP colleagues, created an apprenticeship program for her students in partnership with IBM. During this time, Mehjabeen was selected for The Atlantic Council’s Emerging Leaders of Pakistan Fellowship for which she was invited to the US to meet policymakers, entrepreneurs, grassroots activists and Diaspora communities. She also presented on “The State of Education in Pakistan” at a public event in Washington DC attended by State Department, UN and World Bank officials. After completing her term with TFP, Mehjabeen joined The Citizens Foundation (TCF) – the largest non-profit working in the education sector in Pakistan with 1,000 school units catering to 145,000 students. Mehjabeen worked to improve the quality of principals in TCF schools by making the existing mechanism for principal recruitment, training and evaluation more effective.
Mehjabeen is a Fulbright Scholar and is pursuing a Master’s in International Education Policy at Harvard Graduate School of Education. On her return to Pakistan, she wishes to serve as an advocate for educational equity at the policy level, either through a think tank or as a civil servant in the Ministry of Education in Pakistan.