2017 Summer in South Asia Fellows

Natalie Andrasko is a junior with a major in International Studies and minors in Program in the Environment and Asian Languages and Cultures. Natalie is passionate about the intersection between international development and sustainability, and will be spending two months interning at Frontier Markets in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The Indian government has recently made a massive push towards solar energy as India’s energy demand grows, but the rural electrification rate remains much lower than in urban areas. Frontier Markets addresses this problem by partnering with local entrepreneurs and training rural women to sell their solar products to other women, in a program called Solar Sahelis. Natalie will be researching the marketing tactics Frontier Markets uses to convince these women to sell and use their products, and the methods they use to teach them about the environmental and health consequences of using coal. She hopes to bring everything she learns from her time in India to her future career in global health and international development.

Blog Posts by Natalie


Marianne Drysdale is a freshman planning on applying to the Ford School of Public Policy with minors in Community Action & Social Change and Gender & Health. After graduation, she plans to study public health with an emphasis on gender and its implications on mental health and happiness. Eventually she hopes to work in women’s healthcare access and reform. Marianne will be spending four weeks in New Delhi helping run art, dance, and meditation programs with Prajna, an NGO devoted to enriching the lives of children in the New Delhi slums. Marianne’s final project will explore how creative activities benefit children living in conditions of extreme need.

Blog Posts by Marianne


Addison Kramb is a junior double-majoring in Biology and Creative Writing & Literature. She is fascinated with the act of storytelling and the power a story can have in creating real change in individuals and societies. After graduation, Addison would like to use journalism to bring attention to currently unseen or misunderstood human experiences. She will be spending eight weeks in Dharamshala working for Lha Charitable Trust, the largest organization serving the Tibetan refugees living in the area. Addison will serve as a contributing writer to their magazine along with teaching English and leading conversation classes. Her final research project will investigate the role of Buddhism and culture in the everyday lives of the refugees she will be working with.

Blog Posts by Addison


Chris Olson is a sophomore planning to major in Political Science and minor in Community Action and Social Change. After graduating he hopes to attend grad school and earn a PhD in political science to pursue a career in academia. In India he will be conducting independent research on urban planning. Chris plans to examine the master plans of Bangalore and Amritsar and learn what values are motivating planning in the two respective cities and why those motivations are present. From there he will compare those values of each city to understand how and why they may be the same or different, giving greater insight into how urban planning is being conducted in India.

Blog Posts by Chris


Jo Ellen Pellman is a junior from Cincinnati, Ohio majoring in Musical Theatre and minoring in Creative Writing. Jo Ellen will be spending two months in Mumbai volunteering for Khula Aasman, a non-profit organization dedicated to blending expressive arts therapies with social change. With the Khula Aasman team, she will be facilitating creative theatre workshops with various communities across Mumbai, including women in incarceration and women in trafficking. Art is a great healer- it offers the opportunity to transcend the boundaries of class, religion, caste and gender. Jo Ellen’s final project will focus on the immediate emotional effects of the workshops on the participants and what forms of art therapy resonated with them the most. Her research will provide Khula Aasman with a correlation between the most effective arts therapy methods for the demographics that they serve in order to tailor workshops to best meet the needs of the Mumbai community.

Blog Posts by Jo Ellen


Caroline Richburg is a sophomore studying Biomolecular Science and Anthropology. She hopes to attend medical school and continue to explore the overlap between anthropology and medicine, specifically how this relationship influences and shapes women’s health and healthcare systems. Caroline will be spending her fellowship in Mumbai with the Foundation for Mother and Child Health (FMCH), an organization focused on individualized care for severely malnourished and at-risk infants and community education and support for local mothers. Caroline’s final project will explore what is meant by the term “actionable knowledge,” as used by FMCH healthcare professionals, organizational staff, and local mothers, as well as the uniformity and effectiveness of knowledge dissemination to two local community clinics. Her project will focus on the experiences and perspectives of a diverse audience to the uniform FMCH model.

Blog Posts by Caroline


Neel Swamy is a rising senior studying Neuroscience with a minor in Gender & Health. After graduation, Neel hopes to attend pharmacy school and one day work with patients in a clinical psychiatric setting. Neel will be spending five weeks working with Swasti, a health resource centre in Bangalore that focuses on structurally and systematically addressing the health needs of marginalized populations. Neel will be specifically working with the Avahan India AIDS Initiative, a large HIV prevention program initiated in 2003 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Swasti is currently leading the third phase of the program, which specifically focuses on providing communities sustainable resources to two vulnerable populations: women from the sex working industry and men who identify as transgender. Neel’s research project will focus on highlighting the ways in which the initiative that have proven to be successful and how Swasti has successfully empowered individuals from marginalized backgrounds through community engagement.

Blog Posts by Neel 


Neha Tiwari is a Junior with a major in International Studies: Global Environment and Health and a minor in Biochemistry. She hopes to pursue a career in public health and medicine with a focus on health equity and mental health. Neha will be spending three months in Goa working with Sangath, an NGO dedicated to improving health by empowering existing community resources to provide appropriate physical, psychological and social therapies. Neha’s final research project will explore how effective the integration of community-based lay counseling is in a traditional mental health treatment program.

Blog Posts by Neha


Coleen Truong is a sophomore pursuing a dual-degree in Business Administration and Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. After graduation, she would like go into consulting and focus on the healthcare or social impact industries. This summer, Coleen will be spending four weeks in Hyderabad working in the public health field focusing on expanding access to adolescent sexual and reproductive health education and contraceptives. She will be interning with Family Planning Association of India, an organization dedicated to providing quality reproductive health information and services to men, women, and children through educational and clinical services. Coleen’s culminating research project will focus on examining the socio-cultural and operational challenges affecting the sustainability of a family planning and reproductive health clinic in India. Through conducting this research, she hopes to propose solutions to these challenges and establish a basic framework for enhancing the implementation of reproductive health organizations in developing nations.

Blog Posts by Coleen


Vijay Vobbilisetty is a sophomore majoring in Biomedical Engineering. He will be spending the summer interning at inStem, an autonomous research institute in Bangalore, India. The institute is funded by the Department of Biotechnology and emphasizes collaborative research on stem cell biology. In his project, Vijay will use state-of the-art disease modeling techniques to bridge the gap in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying inherited cardiomyopathies by analyzing the effects of certain genetic mutations on the physiology and function of cardiomyocytes, muscle cells that compose heart tissue. After his undergraduate experience, Vijay would like to continue to pursue his interest in cardiovascular research and go on to medical school.

Blog Posts by Vijay

Share This: