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Category : Graduate Student Associates


Tina Liu has Witnessed the Growing Threat of Fires Firsthand. Now She’s Studying Their Impacts.

Tina Liu has Witnessed the Growing Threat of Fires Firsthand. Now She’s Studying Their Impacts.

Tianjia (Tina) Liu joined the Mittal Institute as a Graduate Student Associate in the 2021-2022 academic year and is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. Tina’s research focuses on using satellite data and atmospheric modeling to quantify the impacts of fires on air quality and public health in India, Indonesia, and globally. She has recently published 2 papers with another in review on the topic of crop residue burning and the impact on air quality degradation. Prior to joining the Mittal Institute, Tina received her B.A. in Environmental Science from Columbia University, and her research has primarily been focused on fires and air quality since her undergraduate days.

Tradition and Transformation: A Conversation on South Asian Politics with Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Hansong Li

Tradition and Transformation: A Conversation on South Asian Politics with Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Hansong Li

Hansong Li (Mittal Institute, Harvard University), spoke with Pratap Bhanu Mehta (Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi; Laurance S. Rockefeller Distinguished Professor at the Center for Human Values, Princeton University) about the South Asian political sphere ahead of the 2022 Global Political Thought Conference on April 8. Both interlocutors are founding members of the Association for Global Political Thought, an international, interdisciplinary, and intercollegiate project founded in 2021, supported by humanists and social scientists from global institutions. What follows is an exerpt from their conversation – to read the full text, visit the article in Comparative Political Theory.

The Economics of Decision-Making: A Spotlight on the Work of Graduate Student Associate Ronak Jain

The Economics of Decision-Making: A Spotlight on the Work of Graduate Student Associate Ronak Jain

Ronak Jain, a Mittal Institute Graduate Student Associate, is a 4th year Ph.D. student in Economics at Harvard University. Her research interests lie in the intersection of economic development and behavioral economics. Her work seeks to understand how beliefs and preferences shape economic and psychological outcomes of individuals and communities, with a regional focus on South Asia. She is a former Harvard Kennedy Scholar. She also serves as a Resident Advisor for Graduate Students in the GSAS Residence Halls at Harvard.

Studying How People Form Beliefs: Explore the Research of Akshay Dixit, Mittal Institute Graduate Student Associate

Studying How People Form Beliefs: Explore the Research of Akshay Dixit, Mittal Institute Graduate Student Associate

Akshay Dixit, a Mittal Institute Graduate Student Associate, is a Ph.D. student of Political Economy & Government at Harvard University. He is a James M. and Cathleen D. Stone PhD Scholar in Inequality and Wealth Concentration, and a recipient of the Amartya Sen Fellowship for Students from India. He is interested in studying how people form beliefs about fairness and inequality, and how that shapes their support for redistributive policies. In ongoing research with Rachel Brulé, he is examining the effect of climate change-induced weather shocks on women’s collective political engagement in Bangladesh. In the past, Akshay has done research on youth civic engagement and accountability in public services, as a Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, and prior to that at Save the Children. He spent two years in Bangladesh as a Research Associate at Innovations for Poverty Action. The Mittal Institute sat down with Akshay to learn more about his research and future aspirations.

Bennett Comerford, Mittal Institute Graduate Associate, Studies South Asian Religions

Bennett Comerford, Mittal Institute Graduate Associate, Studies South Asian Religions

Bennett Comerford, a second year Graduate Student Associate with the Mittal Institute, is a doctoral candidate in the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University. His work focuses on the intersections of religion, literature, race and coloniality in nineteenth-century Bengal. He is a past recipient of language and research fellowships in Bangladesh and India. The Mittal Institute sat down to learn more about Bennett and his research.

Tina Liu, Mittal Institute Graduate Student Associate, studies the impacts of forest fires on air quality and public health

Tina Liu, Mittal Institute Graduate Student Associate, studies the impacts of forest fires on air quality and public health

Tianjia (Tina) Liu, who newly joins the Mittal Institute as a Graduate Student Associate for academic year 2021-2022, is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. She is a NSF Graduate Research Fellow and affiliated with the Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group. Her research focuses on using satellite data and atmospheric modeling to quantify the impacts of fires on air quality and public health in India, Indonesia, and globally. Prior to attending Harvard, Tina received her B.A. in Environmental Science at Columbia University. The Mittal Institute interviewed Tina about her interdisciplinary research, in a Q&A that follows.

Meet Hansong Li, Mittal Institute Graduate Student Associate

Meet Hansong Li, Mittal Institute Graduate Student Associate

Hansong Li recently joined the Mittal Institute as a Graduate Student Associate for 2021-2022. He is a political scientist and intellectual historian in the Government Department at Harvard University. His research explores the languages and practices of interstate justice in South Asia, in comparison to East Asian and European traditions. As a Graduate Student Associate, Hansong will conduct further research on behalf of the Mittal Institute, focused on South Asia. The Mittal Institute sat down with Hansong to learn more about his background, his research motivations, and career aspirations.

Grad Students From Across Campuses Convene on South Asian Studies

Each month, the Mittal Institute’s Graduate Student Associates (GSAs) meet to discuss their latest work on South Asia, spanning various disciplines — from politics to religion and the arts — and providing feedback on one another’s dissertations, articles, and more. Led by Head Graduate Student Associates Aiden Milliff (Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science, MIT), Blair Read (Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science, MIT), and Akshay Dixit (Ph.D., Political Economy, Harvard), the group of about 20 members from schools across Boston provide support and new insights to one another as they work through their studies.