SAJA Student Scholarship 2018 Winners 

The South Asian Journalists Association is pleased to announce the following winners for this year’s student scholarship fund. SAJA will be awarding $2,000 to each scholarship winner.


Mohammad Ali, Columbia Journalism School


 Mohammad Ali is a staff writer with The Hindu based in New Delhi. He will be attending the MA (Politics & Global Affairs) program at Columbia University, New York in the fall. He has written about communal politics and tracked the growth of Right-wing Hindu nationalism in the hinterlands of North India which preceded and coincided with the rise of Narendra Modi as a Hindutva leader and the Prime Minister of India. He tweets @hindureporter


Anakha Arikara, Columbia Journalism School


Born in California to Indian parents, Anakha Arikara moved to India when she was 13 and was inspired by the diversity and culture she found there. This was the source of her passion for storytelling.  She has written for publications such as Food Lovers, and The Better India, and has also been a scriptwriter and director for visual features.  Anakha will be attending Columbia University in New York City in the fall, to pursue a Master’s degree in Journalism, with a specialization in Documentary film.

Anika Hazra, the University of Illinois at Chicago

Anika Hazra is an ecologist and science communicator transitioning to a career in science journalism. She has a BSc in Ecology with a minor in English from the University of Toronto and an MS in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She will be attending New York University in the Fall as an MA student in the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She has contributed to various online science news publications, written a video for Ted-ED about insect identification and is a guest host for the podcast Science for the People. You can check out her work here.

Ravleen Kaur, UC Berkeley

Ravleen Kaur is a journalist based in Portland, Oregon. Her work has ranged from reporting on education for Portland-area newspapers to documenting testimonies of the 1984 anti-Sikh massacres. This fall, she will begin the Master's program at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where she will focus on narrative writing, visual media, and investigative reporting. She's interested in pursuing stories about immigrant communities and diasporic identity along the intersections of race, remembrance, and resilience. She graduated from Portland State University in 2015 with a B.A. in English. Twitter handle: @Ravleen_K

Salina Nasir, UC Berkeley

Salina Nasir is a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area whose reporting has taken her to India. A rising second-year student at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, she concentrates her studies on narrative writing and new media. Her recent feature piece on Islamic feminism appears in the San Francisco Magazine, and she is currently writing a piece for HuffPost India that tells the story of a Gurgaon-based female bodybuilder. Twitter: @salinanas

Priyanka Runwal, University of California, Santa Cruz

Priyanka Runwal is an ecologist and works on the socio-ecology of arid grassland and savanna landscapes in India. She is also a freelance science journalist for The Wire and IndiaBioscience and reports on subjects related to biodiversity, ecology, conservation and the environment. She will be attending the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz this Fall. With a Masters in Biodiversity Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford and 6 years of research experience, she hopes to take advantage of her academic background to bring science from the field and labs to popular media.

Jaya Sundaresh, City University of New York

Jaya Sundaresh is a journalist who hails from Schenectady, New York; she will be attending CUNY's Graduate School of Journalism in the fall. She has written for various publications, including The Aerogram and The Alt Weekly, an alternative weekly based in the Capital Region of New York. Her reporting interests include mass incarceration and policing. She is excited to join CUNY and pursue her dream of being an investigative reporter.

Priyanka Vora, New York University

Priyanka Vora is an award-winning journalist who specializes in health--especially the interaction of new technology and social values and the problems of health care in rural areas and poor communities. Priyanka started reporting at age 19 and has worked for Hindustan Times,Midday and Free Press Journal. Currently, she is a health writer with Scroll.in. In 2017, she won the International Centre for Journalists award for Early Childhood Development reporting and the Red Ink Award in India for health reporting for her series on an encephalitis outbreak in a conflict-ridden district of Odisha. 

Apoorva Joshi, Michigan State University

Apoorva Joshi is a Ph.D. student at Michigan State University. An interdisciplinary and mixed-methods researcher, she studies environmental journalism, risk communication, environmental policy, and conservation criminology. With a degree in environmental science from the University of Pune and an M.A. in environmental journalism from the University of Montana, Apoorva draws from her experiences as a journalist and a scientist to inform her interdisciplinary doctoral research.

Nandini Rathi, New York University

Nandini Rathi is a journalist from India. After having graduated from Whitman College in Film & Media studies and Politics, she has been living in New Delhi area where she was until recently associated with The Indian Express. She will be attending New York University in the fall and pursuing a joint masters in Journalism and International Relations. Among her several reporting interests are social justice, gender and health. She looks forward to grow immensely as a professional in the next two years.   




SAJA Announces 2017 Scholarships and Professional Development Fund

The South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) has announced the winners of 2017 SAJA Student Scholarship and Professional Development Funds. For the Student Scholarships, SAJA accepted applications from high school, undergraduate, and graduate students while working journalists were eligible to apply for the Professional Development Fund. A committee of judges declared the following applicants successful:

Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarships ($2,000 per recipient)

Padmini Parthasarathy, University of California Berkeley

Padmini Parthasarathy is a freelance writer and writing teacher based in New Orleans. She will be attending the University of California, Berkeley in the fall and pursuing a narrative writing track. Padmini writes about social movements and resistance and is continually fascinated by the politics of personhood. She is a first generation Indian-American, raised in Connecticut and educated at New York University. Her work has appeared in The Times of India, Huffington Post, Lenny Letter, and Firstpost.com, among other publications. 

Astha Agarwal, University of British Columbia 

Astha Agarwal is a journalist, activist, and spoken word poet. Since 2014, Astha has been studying Economics at McGill University in Montreal, where she has reported for the McGill Tribune on issues including violence against indigenous women, support for refugees, and the state of democracy. She was named Massachusetts High School Journalist of the Year in 2014 and is a 2013 alumna of the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference at the Newseum/USA TODAY in Washington, D.C. Astha is excited to continue pursuing her lifelong passion for journalism and effecting social change, as a Masters student at the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in Vancouver.

Mehrunisa “Nisa” Khan, University of Michigan

Nisa is a rising junior at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has recently been accepted to the School of Information, and is planning to study both User Experience and English. Outside of school, Nisa is the Senior News Editor for the student-run, independent newspaper The Michigan Daily and is currently the 2017 Summer Editor in Chief. 

Aantaki Raisa, University of Florida

Aantaki Raisa will start her second MA in Health Communication at the Journalism School of University of Florida this fall. She is from Bangladesh and currently lives in Brooklyn. While working as community reporter in New York City, she discovered the struggles of the non-English speaking immigrant communities due to cultural, linguistic, and social differences in almost every aspect of life-healthcare, legal matters, or even grocery shopping. This motivated her to study in an  area that  develops communication strategies for different types of communities, especially in healthcare systems. Besides voicing the stories of the minorities, Aantaki loves writing, reading, traveling, photography, and movies. She is a big fan of life and wants to explore as much of it as she can. Twitter: @aantakiraisa

Disha Shetty, Columbia University 

Disha Shetty is a Health Correspondent for DNA in Mumbai. She has written about the spread of drug-resistant TB in rural India and followed closely the case of female foeticide in Maharashtra's Sangli district among others. A strong believer in Universal Health Care, she hopes to write more about maternal health in particular in future. She will be attending the MA in Science, Environment and Medicine Journalism program at Columbia University in the fall. She holds a Bachelors of Mass Media from Mumbai University and PG Diploma in TV Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai. She was the recipient of REACH Media National Fellowship in 2016 and EurekAlert Fellowship in 2017.   


Srinivasa Padmavathy Sri Satya Kandala, Dartmouth University

Satya Kandala began writing at the age of 18 and has since written for numerous reputed news organizations such as The New York Times, The Economic Times, The Hindu and Scroll. Keen to delve into various forms of narratives such as short stories and non-fiction, she is beginning her MA in Liberal Studies in Creative Writing at Dartmouth College in the fall of 2017. She hopes to become a writer who excels at various forms of storytelling and is able to tell the extraordinary stories from her part of the world to a worldwide audience. 


High School Scholarships ($2,000 per recipient)


Tara Madhav, Palo Alto High School

Tara Madhav is a graduating senior at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, California. Tara is passionate about telling the untold stories and shedding a light onto narratives that are hidden in plain sight. As the Editor-in-Chief of her Pacemaker-winning school magazine Verde, she has written and helped publish several investigative features, including a recent piece on an Office of Civil Rights investigation into the Palo Alto Unified School District. Tara has won awards for her writing from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the California Press Women’s Association and the Journalism Educator’s Association of Northern California. She is also the president of her school’s Model UN Club and the managing editor of Proof magazine, her school’s fine arts magazine. Tara will pursue a degree in Political Science and History at UC Berkeley in the fall. Twitter: @tara_madhav

Raqshan Khan, Tamalpais High School

Raqshan Khan is a high school senior from Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California. She will be attending San Francisco State University in the fall to pursue both computer science and journalism. She is currently an Editor-in-Chief of her school publication, The Tam News, and for the past two years she has lead The Tam Broadcast Network (TBN), the fairly new video branch of The Tam News. Raqshan is passionate about social justice, especially racial inequality and inequity, and often channels that through journalism. She co-founded The Students of Color Club and Restorative Justice Club at her school in order to tackle issues of racial inequality and the punitive school system. Raqshan hopes to combine her interests in computer science and technology with her love for journalism and storytelling in order to bring about new forms of storytelling and enact change in the world. Twitter: @Raqshi_K


Anusha Shrivastava, SAJA President, congratulated all winners on behalf of the SAJA Board. “SAJA is committed to promoting high-quality journalism by providing scholarships to journalism students and supporting the professional development endeavors of working journalists,” she said. She urged friends and donors to support SAJA’s work through generous donations so that SAJA is able to provide financial assistance to journalism students and working journalists.

The SAJA Scholarships are made possible through generous contributions from the Krishna Kumar Gaur Scholarship Fund, the Arun I & Asmita Bhatia Foundation, and numerous individual and institutional donations. To donate to SAJA and help future scholarship classes, please click here.


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