Several tri-state, east coast Indian-American students win 2024 George J. Mitchell Scholarships – newsindiatimes.com
At least four out of only 12 students selected from a nationwide cohort, for the 2024 George J. Mitchell Scholarships are of Indian origin, a number way higher than the proportion of this ethnic group in the U.S. population.
The US-Ireland Alliance announced the winners on November 19, 2022, selected out of a cohort 306 applicants.
“As one of the country’s most prestigious scholarship programs,” this Scholarship sends potential future American leaders to the island of Ireland for a year of graduate study, the announcement noted.
The Indian-origin winners include Vikram Balasubramanian of University of Pennsylvania, a resident of California; Vivek Kanpa of New Jersey studying at Northeastern University; Yale U student Rabhya Mehrotra from Maryland; and Neelesh Mupparapa of Maryland U.
Another student of South Asian origin Zoha Siddiqui of Virginia, also won the scholarship.
Vikram Balasubramanian is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studies Philosophy in the School of Arts and Sciences, and Statistics at the Wharton School. As a Benjamin Franklin Scholar and Joseph Wharton Scholar, he is interested in combining philosophy with data science to solve social problems.
He is a member of the Penn Debate Society and the Philomathean Society, America’s oldest continuously-existing literary society, and also a cellist in the Penn Baroque Ensemble.
At Penn Medicine and the Computational Social Science Center, Balasubramanian is a co-author of several medical publications.
At McKinsey & Co. and QualRisk, he analyzed bank and insurance markets and examined how to increase federal regulatory compliance.
As a Project Leader for MUSE Social Impact Consulting, he led four analytical projects for non-profits, including the World Wildlife Fund UK and Teach for America, to determine the effectiveness of their initiatives.
He was an Effective Altruism Cambridge Fellow and served as a grant writer for One for the World, a non-profit that aims to persuade young professionals to donate 1% of their lifetime salary to philanthropic organizations.
Balasubramanian will study Philosophy at Trinity College Dublin.
Vivek Kanpa, a resident of Livingston, New Jersey, is a senior at Northeastern University, where he studies Data Science and Biology. He is interested in linking gene expression patterns and machine learning to oncology. He conducted impressive STEM research while still in high school and his findings were presented at national conferences and published in the Journal of Brain Sciences.
Kanpa received the PEAK Trail-Blazer award for investigating how oxidative stress impacts aging in nematode C. elegans neuronal tissue to explain pathogenesis of age-associated neurodegenerative disorders in humans, such as Alzheimer’s.
At Takeda Pharmaceutical, he developed software tools that accelerate laboratory workflows in immunotherapy lead discovery.
At Revolution Medicines, he focused on pharmacogenomics, the study of how genes effect a person’s response to drugs and developed a neural network to predict successful tumor penetration of anti-cancer drugs.
He is a distance runner, and creates music and performs live across Boston.
Kanpa will study Artificial Intelligence for Medicine & Medical Research at University College Dublin.
Rabhya Mehrotra is a senior at Yale studying Computer Science and Political Science. Her passion lies in reforming democracy to empower citizens.
In the summer of 2021, Mehrotra lived in Iceland as part of the Program in Grand Strategy, studying the country’s 2010 constitutional reform process, which used citizen-drafters instead of politicians.
For her dual-major thesis she is using natural language models to analyze Icelandic political discourse around the constitution.
She is interested in Ireland’s “We the Citizens” project, which involved three Citizens Assemblies that led to change on same-sex marriage and abortion.
Mehrotra wants to see what America can learn from Ireland. She’s also eager to use her coding skills for democracy reform.
Living in Dublin, considered by some as the technology capital of Europe, will allow her to explore the burgeoning field of e-democracy, according to the press release.
Mehrotra will study Political Communication at Dublin City University.
Neelesh Mupparapu, a resident of Reisterstown, Maryland, is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he studied Biomedical Engineering.
Mupparapu is a Banneker/Key Scholarship recipient interested in pursuing medicine with an emphasis on equity and social advocacy.
Through Gemstone, he and his team conducted a research thesis on using deep learning and artificial intelligence to improve diagnosis of mental disorders, and bioethics research to discern racial inequities, for which they won the outstanding thesis award.
He is currently pursuing a post-baccalaureate program at NIH/NIA to extend his Bioengineering undergraduate honors thesis.
His interests include studying neglected, rare disorders as well as cardiovascular disease. Mupparapu won multiple awards for his work developing low-cost medical devices, including a neonatal glucose fiber-optic biosensor, which he presented at the Intel-Regeneron International Fair.
He is also a co-founder of the Brain Exercise initiative chapter at UMD and organized a volunteer program with Maryland Senior Citizen Homes.
Mupparapu will study for a Masters in Public Health at University College Cork.
Zoha Siddiqui, a resident of McLean, Virginia, is a senior at William & Mary, where she studies International Relations and Transitional Justice, the process by which states redress mass violence.
She became interested in the 1947 partition between India and Pakistan and how witnesses to partition, including her own grandparents and great grandparents, dealt with the grief, trauma, and tumult of that time.
She is interested in the Good Friday Agreement that was signed with the involvement of George Mitchell, and succeeded in ending decades of sectarian violence in Ireland, but left questions of criminal justice for human rights violations committed during the Troubles unaddressed.
As Co-Director of the Exodus Project, Siddiqui studied challenges faced by vulnerable groups in displacement crises. Her work resulted in policy recommendations presented to USAID and other organizations to improve the quality of life for Venezuelan migrant communities in Colombia.
She is also the Co-Founder and Co-Director of HER, a non-profit organization, that has led to the creation of 13 libraries in rural and urban areas of Pakistan and Morocco.
Siddiqui has co-authored several articles, including for Foreign Policy, on the role of international justice institutions in the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Siddiqui will study Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queen’s University Belfast.
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