Summer in South Asia 2014 Participants

Figment from 2014 SISA Fellow Man Kuan Lei.

2014 Summer in South Asia Fellows

We had a wonderful group of nearly 30 applicants again this year. The decision making process is never easy, and this year was no different. However, we believe we have successfully found eight Summer in South Asia Fellows who are all incredibly grateful for this opportunity. The committee who chose the Fellows was made up of area experts and faculty at the University of Michigan. Each application was reviewed by no less than four people with extensive knowledge of India and experience working with undergraduate students. The committee took great care in choosing the students who they felt would be most successful as fellows.

Each of the selected students attended a pre-departure orientation where study abroad and health and safety experts gave presentations on how best to prepare for their trips. The students were also required to purchase international health insurance and comply with all University international policy regulations.

Below we introduce our 2014 fellows with brief descriptions of what they are up to this summer. We encourage you also to enjoy the blogs they will be keeping over the course of the summer.


Alexa Ariazi, Junior

Alexa will be interning at a women's rights NGO in New Delhi, called Shakti Shalini. This NGO arose out of the feminist movement that really blossomed in the early 1980s, in response to the growing attention given to gendered violence such as dowry death. She will be analyzing how this history influences the organization's mission and interactions with the community and other women's rights NGOs in the area. Furthermore, Shakti Shalini is a small, localized NGO. Alexa will examine how its methodologies compare with larger women's rights NGOs in New Delhi, especially those that operate in other cities (or countries).

Lucia Ceroni, Sophomore

Lucia will be interning at Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, a development organization, engaged in building a new civil society in Bangalore, India through its grassroots to policy-level action in Health, Education and Community Development sectors. While interning here she will gain nursing experience by working in a local hospital under a mentor. Additionally, Lucia will teach health care related workshops to the English speaking sector of the population.

Brianna LaBelle-Hahn, Junior

Brianna is working alongside BLUElab India, a multidisciplinary student organization at the University of Michigan dedicated to co-designing sustainable, appropriate technology with the communities in and around the city of Kalol in Gujarat, India. BLUElab India is focused primarily on solutions to health problems that are caused by lack of potable water.

Man Kuan Lei, Junior

Man Kuan will be working in Dharamsala, India with an environment/waste management organization called Waste Warriors. Waste problem is rampant across India. She will be learning about the waste management systems that strive to reduce the social stigma attached to waste in order to improve the quality of life. Her main goal is to focus on the waste workers in that area who make their living on picking waste and how the NGO has made a difference on their lives.

Lydia Lopez, Junior

Lydia will be working with a youth-oriented NGO called YUVAUnstoppable. She will be working at Yuva's headquarters in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Her primary work will be under the position of Program Associate where she will be directly working in the already existing partnerships with government funded schools. Through this position, she will work to supplement her social research project and senior thesis by analyzing how international NGOs operate and remain sustainable in a place with high levels of poverty.

Emily Preuss, Junior

This summer Emily will be working with Jeevika Development Society for approximately eight weeks, in Kolkata, India. Jeevika is an organization that dedicated to furthering women's rights, particularly of women in poverty through research and providing resources. She will be collaborating with them to run a survey about the marriage of young girls in India as well as investigating the ties between this and the stigma of female sexuality. The survey will be conducted within the communities that Jeevika works closely with outside of Kolkata.

Daniel Vollrath, Junior

During the summer of 2014 Daniel will be a research and development intern at Yuva Unstoppable, an Indian NGO that acts as a catalyst for change by helping the disadvantaged youth of India, in Ahmedabad, India.  As part of the research and development team, he will be working on analyzing the effectiveness of programs the organization completes, which includes rebuilding schools, digital literacy programs, donation drives, and much more. Along with his internship Daniel will be conducting independent research on the motivations and attitudes of Indian students on education. The survey will be administered to middle-class students in the city of Ahmedabad.

Elisa Warner, Junior

Elisa will be working with the Hope Project, an NGO that is centered in the Hazrat Basti Nizamuddin, a slum in Delhi. Her focus will be the clinic and investigating the relationship between the NGO and the community. She will place particular focus on what degree the NGO is able to sustain or assist the community, and to what degree the community needs the NGO.