SAJA Accepting Applications for 2017 Student Scholarship Program

The South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) is now accepting applications for its 2017 Student Scholarship Program, which aims to help undergraduate and graduate-level students to pursue their academic goals without being interrupted because of financial hardships. This year, SAJA will award ten student scholarships ($2, 000 each) to Students from across the United States, Canada and South Asia. Students can use SAJA Scholarships to meet educational expenses. Applicants with financial hardships will be given special consideration.

 Selection/Eligibility

Undergraduates and graduate students continuing their studies in the fall of 2017 can apply for funding to meet their educational expenses. Students from across the United States, Canada and South Asia can apply for SAJA scholarships. All applicants must be pursuing their education in a North American educational institution in the fall of 2017. Applicants must either be of South Asian descent (includes: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) or demonstrate a strong interest in covering South Asia and/or the diaspora. 

Immediate relatives of SAJA Board members and judges are INELIGIBLE to apply.

Evaluation Procedure

A committee of judges appointed by the SAJA Board will review the student applications and evaluate them based on a demonstrated interest in journalism (i.e.: related coursework, internships, extracurricular activities, part-time work), written communication skills, financial need, interest and enthusiasm in joining the SAJA community, and serious reflection on what the applicant hopes to accomplish as a journalist. Applicants may be interviewed by phone or in-person by a member of the scholarship committee. Winners will be notified by the end of April 2017.

Award process

Scholarship winners are expected to give back to SAJA by volunteering at the annual convention or one other event during the year. They should commit to promoting SAJA activities, events, membership drive and donation appeals on social media platforms in order to help SAJA achieve its mission and expand the network. All scholarship recipients must also agree to provide an update on their scholastic endeavors and/or journalistic achievements at the conclusion of the academic year. We will post excerpts from these statements on the SAJA website and social media platforms to share with the public the impact of our scholarship and awards program.

HOW TO APPLY 

Send a PDF document to:
Malik Siraj Akbar at
maliksirajakbar@yahoo.com
withSAJA Scholarship Fund” in the subject line.

The single PDF document MUST include:

1) A cover letter, resume, including contact information of three references

2) A 350-word essay on why you should be awarded the fund

Recipients of SAJA Scholarship Fund will be required to state how they would give back to SAJA and provide us with a picture and quote about how the internship fund helped them. The deadline to apply for SAJA scholarships is March 30th while winners will be notified in April.


Meet Our 2016 Scholarship Winners!

Graduate Scholarships - $5,000

Kazi Elman Awal, City University of New York


Kazi Awal is a

Master’s candidate at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalis

m in New York City. He is a native Brooklynite currently studying data visualizatio

ns/interactives and health and science reporting.  Fueled by a keen interest in finding the numbers that matter, he digs up data to unearth stories. He can also be found out on the s

treets, toting a DSLR, capturing moments unique to life in the insomniac city. Outside of journalism, though, there is nothing he enjoys more than the combination of good food, g

ra

nd films, and gre

at friends.  


Aditi Malhotra, Columbia University


Aditi Malhotra is a reporter at The Wall Street Journal’s South Asia bureau. She joined the Journal in New Delhi in December 2012, six days before news broke out that a 23-year-old woman had been raped by a group of six men in the city, suffering injuries so severe that she succumbed to them. Aditi delved deep into the crime and worked on some of the award-winning coverage of the Journal on crimes against women. Besides crime, she has reported on a wide-range of topics from human rights to education, health, technology, arts and culture. Beginning this fall, Aditi will be pursuing the MA program at Columbia Journalism School. She will be specializing in health and environment reporting.

Pathik Root, Columbia University

Tik Root is a freelance journalist. He’s worked in Yemen, Spain, Rwanda, Russia and the US covering everything from Al-Qaeda to youth issues and faith based environmentalism. His work has appeared with The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and The Economist, among other outlets. He holds a B.A. in International Politics and Economics from Middlebury College. This fall he plans to pursue an M.A. in Journalism at Columbia University, with a concentration in Science, Health & the Environment.


Nani Sahra Walker, University of California, Berkeley

Nani Sahra Walker works as a filmmaker, user experience designer and social entrepreneur. She was awarded the San Francisco FilmHouse Residency for her feature documentary "Other Nature" (2012) on third gender rights in Nepal and received an MTV Video Music Award (2015) for production design in Fall Out Boy's music video "Uma Thurman." Nani reports for AJ+ as a freelance video journalist. In 2015, Nani founded athenasaraswati.org, a non-profit aimed to empower displaced populations with training and education. She is currently exploring virtual reality storytelling and content strategy at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. 

Undergraduate Scholarships - $3,000

Nitisha Baronia, University of California, Berkeley

Nitisha is an undergraduate Regents' and Chancellor's Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. Nitisha began her writing career with India West Newspaper as a high school student, and has loved journalism ever since. She currently serves as the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Berkeley Political Review, the only non-partisan political publication on the vibrant campus. In addition to writing, Nitisha works as Policy Coordinator for the ASUC Student Advocate's Office, advocating for student clients on campus. She is passionate about Asian American civil rights issues, and hopes to use her scholarship to bring untold narratives to the journalistic spotlight.

Aruna Dutt, University of Western Ontario

Born in Washington, D.C. and growing up in Canada, Aruna's interest in journalism and social justice evolved as she traveled to developing countries, leading her to combine these passions by pursuing a double major in Media in the Public Interest and Global Development at Western University. She spent two months at the United Nations bureau of the Interpress Service news agency, reporting on various LGBT, gender, and aboriginal issues, international politics and human rights. Now she is a junior, returning to New York to report from the United Nations bureau, and is taking over as Editor-in-Chief of her college magazine, The Regis.

Sudhanshu Kaushik, New York University

Sudhanshu Kaushik is currently pursuing an international relations degree and a degree in journalism at New York University. He founded a nonprofit, Equality Initiative, which provides education to children in rural India. He also founded a South Asian Literary and Journal magazine alongside a YouTube news show, Mann Marzi. He’s currently working on a documentary on the Haryana Panchayati Amendment Act called Swaraj. He wants to be happy yesterday, caffeinated today, and helping people tomorrow.

Aditi Mayer, University of California, Irvine

Aditi Mayer is a sophomore at UC Irvine double majoring in Literary Journalism and International Studies. Her work as a photojournalist is largely motivated by issues of social justice, women's rights, and the South Asian diaspora. This Spring, she will be traveling to La Paz, Mexico to cover issues relating to girl's education and urban development. In addition to freelance reporting, she runs her own blog, ADIMAY.com, which highlights her photography, travel, and the intersection between style and social action.

Jasmine Rashid, Swarthmore College

Jasmine Rashid, born and raised on Long Island, graduated from Farmingdale High School and currently attends Swarthmore College, class of 2018. At Swarthmore College, Ms. Rashid is exploring academia through a variety of lenses, including Peace and Conflict Studies, Sociology, Political Science, and Behavioral Economics. From an early age, she has been dedicated to working towards justice in marginalized communities, and focuses much of her writing, passion, and action on exposing racial inequities, advocating the importance of gender equity, and detailing narratives of those strategizing against violence in South Asia and the global community at large. Additionally, Ms. Rashid is the creator of VISIBILITY Magazine, an online publication produced by the Swarthmore Intercultural Center.

Devi Shastri, Marquette University

Devi Shastri is a junior at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she studies biomedical sciences, journalism and neuroscience. As a first-generation Indian-American, she takes pride in her ties to her Indian (Gujarati) roots and the Chicagoan lifestyle she was born and raised in. An aspiring science writer, she enjoys translating complicated topics for the general public. She aims to add a human element to every story and believes that scientific literacy is essential to social equality. She has interned for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, Marquette’s O’Brien Fellowship and will spend this summer in D.C. interning with Science Magazine.

High School Scholarship - $2,000

Elizabeth Varghese, Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School

Elizabeth Varghese is an Indian-American high school senior from Plainview-Old Bethpage, NY and will be attending the George Washington University’s 7-Year BA/MD Program in the fall. She is currently the editor-in-chief of her school’s newspaper, the Hawk Eye, and a writer for Brown Girl Magazine. Elizabeth is passionate about gender equality and social justice, as well as exploring the unknown through science research. She has spent many of her summers working in laboratories studying a variety of disciplines, from bioengineering to molecular biology. Elizabeth is also a Bharatanatyam dancer who loves to read during her spare time.

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