New Fellowship Fund Will Support Recent Penn Graduate to Do Research in India

The Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) has announced the launch of a new post-baccalaureate fellowship program that will provide funding for a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania to pursue independent research in India. Established through a gift from Rajiv Sobti, Gr’84, and Slomi Sobti, the Sobti Family Fellowship is the first program at Penn to provide such support for recent graduates, who typically would have to seek outside funding.

In its introductory year, the Sobti Family Fellowship Fund will provide an opportunity for graduating seniors and recent graduates who have completed a bachelor’s degree at any of Penn’s four undergraduate schools between May 2012 and May 2014. The selected recipient will pursue independent research over a period of at least nine months on a topic related to contemporary India.

Since 2007, CASI has provided 86 travel awards to Penn students, two-thirds of these to undergraduates, to conduct volunteer internships and independent research in India during the summer months. The CASI program is one of Penn’s most selective student internship programs, accepting one in six applicants. CASI also offers summer funding to undergraduates and graduate students to conduct independent research in connection with their academic studies at Penn.

“CASI travel awards provide students with the opportunity to access India beyond textbooks and classes,” says CASI director and Madan Lal Sobti Associate Professor Devesh Kapur. “The Sobti Family Fellowship is a sort of intellectual venture capital that will allow graduating students to explore an idea or passion in greater depth and further their personal and professional goals."

Penn’s student body has demonstrated a growing interest in India and a desire to continue working abroad post-graduation. Harvard medical school student Alex Ryu, C’11, spent the summer of his junior year as a CASI intern in Karnataka. Following graduation, Ryu returned to Karnataka to pilot a mobile software application that tracks medical immunizations—a project that demonstrated the need for post-graduate funding opportunities. Ryu says, “The CASI student programs’ travel award gave me an invaluable perspective on life in one of the world’s most talked-about countries. My experiences in Karnataka broadened my abilities to critique my own life and culture, ultimately making me a more effective and insightful person.”

The fellowship is not intended for students who have already completed a master’s degree, but CASI anticipates that the opportunity will help recent graduates shape the next steps in their academic and professional careers.

Applications for the Sobti Family Fellowship are now being accepted online through the CASI web site. Click here to apply. The winner will be announced in April 2014. The deadline for submitting applications is Monday, March 17, 2014, at 11:59 pm EST.

About CASI

Founded in 1992, the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania is the first research institution in the United States dedicated to the study of contemporary India. A national resource, it fills an urgent need for objective knowledge of India's politics and society, rapidly changing economy, and transformation as both an ancient civilization and major contemporary power. Students are the raison d’etre of a university and as an academic research center focused on India, CASI strives to reach out to as many Penn students as possible.

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