Now Accepting Applications for SAJA 2018 Journalism Scholarships

SAJA is now accepting applications for its 2018 undergraduate, and graduate-level journalism scholarships. This year, we will be awarding seven student scholarships ($2, 000 each) to journalism students to meet their educational expenses.


Undergraduates and graduate students continuing their studies in the fall of 2018 can apply for funding for their educational expenses. Students from across the United States, Canada, and South Asia can apply for the scholarships.

All applicants must show proof of admission to a North American educational institution in the fall of 2018. Applicants must either be of South Asian descent (includes: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) or demonstrate a keen 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, , 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 May 2018.

Award process

Recipients 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 to help SAJA achieve its mission and expand the network. All recipients of the scholarship and fellowships must also agree to provide an update on their scholastic endeavors and at the conclusion of the academic year. SAJA reserves the right to post these statements or excerpts thereof on the SAJA website and social media platforms to share with the public the impact of our scholarship and awards program.



Friday, April 30, 2018


Send a PDF document to:
Malik Siraj Akbar at
withSAJA Scholarship” in the subject line.

The single PDF document MUST include:

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

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

Applicants may be interviewed by phone or in person by a member of the selection committee. 


Those selected to receive scholarships will be required to provide the following information / documents to SAJA prior to being entitled to receive the scholarship amounts:

  • (a)  A U.S. Postal address to which the scholarship check will be physically mailed or details of a US Dollar bank account at a bank branch located in the United States; and
  • (b) U.S. Treasury Form W-9 or Form W-8BEN

Failure to provide any of the above information / documents on a timely basis could result in revocation of the scholarship.

Each scholarship recipient must consult her/his own tax advisor on the extent, if any, to which the scholarship amount may be taxable by any of the tax jurisdiction to which she/he may be subject to.  SAJA does not make any representation as to the taxability or non-taxability of the scholarship amount. 

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, 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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