2014 SAJA Scholarships

Graduate Scholarship - $5,000

Soraya Auer – Columbia University

Soraya Auer is starting a Master of Science in Documentary Journalism at Columbia University in the fall of 2014. She is currently a media relations specialist and chief sub-editor for BRAC, the world's largest non-governmental organization, and previously worked for Bangladesh's most circulated English newspaper as a feature writer. Her writing has appeared in the Huffington Post (US), The Daily Star (BD), Press Association (UK) and other publications. Soraya, who speaks four languages, completed her undergraduate degree and professional qualification in journalism in the UK.


Rajeev Dhir – New York University

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Rajeev Dhir always knew he wanted to pursue a career that would involve storytelling. He is currently working towards a Master of Arts in multimedia journalism at New York University and is a proud member of SAJA. Prior to returning to school to upgrade his skills, he worked in mainstream and South Asian newsrooms as a reporter. After graduating, Rajeev plans to use his new skills to help give a voice to underreported communities including those from the South Asian diaspora.


Jeyandini Fernando – Columbia University

Jeyandini Fernando is a 2nd year part-time graduate student at the Columbia University Journalism School. She works as an Associate Producer with CNNx based out of New York. 




Tanya Jain – New York University

Tanya has observed diplomatic and security issues in Asia-Pacific for BBC’s news monitoring service in New Delhi for over two years. She follows North Korea compulsively and has travelled to Pakistan and Uzbekistan in her quest to explore regional politics, history and culture. Tweets at @afusedjain.


Zainab Khan – UC Berkeley

Zainab Khan will be attending UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism this fall and she is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University. Her interests include the South Asian and Middle Eastern diaspora networks, transnational youth movements, and more broadly, fashion and how it operates as a global discourse. 


Reshmi Kaur Oberoi – Northwestern University

A New Yorker born and raised, Reshmi graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2012 with a degree in the history and sociology of health, Health & Societies, and a minor in political science. She decided to take two years off to hone her craft of writing before entering graduate school. She will now be working toward her master's degree in journalism at Northwestern University. Her goal is to use journalism as a means to provoke change and to provide information to a global audience. She aims to do this by reporting, collecting my observations and what she hear, and then reproducing these sensory experiences for the public.


Ariha Setalvad – Stanford University

Born in India, Ariha has lived in Italy and New York, and earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Psychology from New York University in 2013. As an undergrad, Ariha worked at technology startup Fueled, Scholastic News, and The New York Times, where she wrote about education in the U.S. She is currently working at a financial newspaper in India and is headed to Stanford University in the Fall. Intrigued by both visual and written storytelling, Ariha is excited to develop her skills as a multimedia journalist. She is also working on a series of children's books, and is a proponent of the Oxford comma.


Undergraduate Scholarship - $3,000


Radiyah Chowdhury, Carleton University, Ontario
Radiyah Chowdhury was born and bred in Scarborough, Ontario but is currently living and learning in Ottawa as a journalism major at Carleton University. When she isn't writing, editing or waiting on somebody to call her back, she enjoys spoken word poetry and extremely lame puns.

Tara Gupta, Wellesley College / MIT
Tara is a rising junior at Wellesley College and dual-enrolled at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) studying Media Arts & Sciences, an interdisciplinary major consisting of computer science, graphic design, and film. Tara is executive producer and anchor of Wellesley College Television News and will be working at All in with Chris Hayes at MSNBC this summer. She also runs Seva Football (www.sevafootball.org), a student volunteer organization that uses soccer to empower young women in India and several other countries. After graduation, Tara hopes to work in broadcast news and looks forward to seeing more South Asian women in television.

Neha Ramani, Indiana University
Neha Ramani is a freshman at Indiana University studying Journalism and Economics. She enjoys writing about politics, culture, and entrepreneurship. At IU, she is active in student media, serves on the executive board of the Indian Student Association and sings in a Bollywood fusion a cappella group. A portfolio of her work can be found at www.neharamani.com.

Sonia Waraich, San Jose City College
Sonia Waraich was born in 1989 to a Sikh American family that immigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 70s. She briefly attended Humboldt State University to study botany, but soon realized it was not the field for her. After returning home and studying journalism at San Jose City College, she decided she would pursue reporting full-time. She is currently Editor-in-Chief of the City College Times and is planning on transferring to California State University, East Bay in the fall.

Fatimah Waseem, University of Maryland
As a journalism and government major at the University of Maryland, Fatimah Waseem hopes to cover international affairs using multimedia and long-form formats. She has interned for USA TODAY and McClatchy newspapers and has worked for local publications like her school paper, The Diamondback, a bi-weekly newspaper for Muslims, The Muslim Link, and the Germantown Patch. She is currently the editor-in-chief of the only literary journal for Muslim youth, Muslim Youth Musings. In her free time, she enjoys photojournalism and traditional painting.

Paayal Zaveri, University of California, Davis
Paayal Zaveri is a an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis working to pursue a career in journalism. She has experience as a reporter and editor for her school newspaper, The California Aggie and has interned at other various online news outlets. Her main journalistic interests include politics, health, education, and foreign affairs. She is looking forward to interning in Washington D.C. in the fall as part of the University of California, Washington D.C. program.

High School Scholarship - $2,500

Akib Khan, East Chapel Hill High School

Akib Khan has been involved with journalism throughout his high school years. In his free time, he is either playing sports or traveling around his native state of North Carolina.




Dustin Nguyen, Crawford High School

Dustin Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American from San Diego, CA. His hobbies inlcude wrestling, gymnastics, and outdoor adventures. His passion, however, lies in my education. He’s is interested in politics, journalism, and international studies. Nguyen currently attends Crawford High School in San Diego, CA and next year he will be attending Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. As a SAJA scholarship recipient, he will continue to work towards a career in journalism and says he is so excited to now be part of the SAJA scholarship family. 

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