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Summer Spotlights

See what community members were up to during quarantine!

Sayak Maity

Rising Sophomore in Eliot House studying Computer Science 

This summer, he interned at a YC startup called Pine Park Health, where he added new features to their online task management platform for healthcare workers. Sayak said, “It’s my first time working for a startup, and it has been really insightful to understand how the company operates. In addition, it was fascinating to see how quickly the company pivoted their business to adapt to the pandemic.”

He is also Comp Director at Harvard Ventures. This summer, he ran a startup incubator called VentureWorks, where they gave 5 teams micro-grants and helped them develop their startup ideas. They ran workshops on various topics, including value propositions, customer research, business planning, and pitching to investors.

During his free time during quarantine, he likes making matcha lattes, reading books about entrepreneurship, zooming with friends, and hiking on the weekends.

Sayak added, “My favorite South Asian food, which I first tried while visiting Rajasthan over winter break, is Laal Maas (a spicy lamb curry).”

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Aryamann Lakhotia

Rising Sophomore in Pforzheimer House studying Economics

This summer, he was supposed to go on a study abroad program to Japan but ended up taking 2 classes through Harvard Summer School on Japanese Art and Architecture, and Emerging Economies of Asia and Eastern Europe. Aryamaan said,”I had never studied art before, so it was really fun to explore a completely new subject. In addition, I also worked at the central bank of Armenia to assist in a project on ICT exports.”

In his free time, he has been reading books, catching up with school friends in India (over zoom), spending time with family.

His favorite movie is Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and he enjoys listening to Rajasthani classical music, and Jazz.

Abhishek Malani

Rising Junior in Pforzheimer House studying Economics

This summer he is interning at Alger, a growth fund, doing equity research focusing on payment services.

He’s spent a lot of quarantine doing at home workouts with his sister, playing tennis, and learning how to cook some of his favorite dishes with his mom.

Abhishek adds, “My favorite south asian experience has been sankranti in Jaipur over winter break when you could see kites everywhere in the sky and lanterns late at night.”

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Meena Venkataramanan

Rising Senior studying English and South Asian Studies

This summer, Meena has been covering Texas politics, policy, and the impact of COVID-19 as a reporting fellow at the Texas Tribune. She's written a series of news stories and feature pieces about various topics, including undocumented renters facing eviction, Texas-Mexico border communities, and South Asian American voter mobilization. A passionate journalist, Meena's experiences at the Tribune have gifted her with invaluable opportunities to hone her reporting, writing, and editing skills.

Meena has also been working on a podcast, "Broadcasts from the Border," that she and her friends @borderstoriesaz recently launched to discuss U.S.-Mexico immigration and border issues.

When she's not writing or podcasting, Meena spends her free time during quarantine reading for leisure, making homemade boba and guacamole, and watching NBC Nightly News with her family.

Arnav Srivastava

Rising Sophomore in Winthrop House studying Biomedical Engineering

This summer he has been working at a sports medicine startup for better ACL healing. When talking about his work, Arnav said, “It’s been super insightful working alongside a small team in which everyone was has a direct impact on the product!”

During his free time, Arnav said he’s been fueling his xbox addiction and been rewatching his favorite Hindi movie 3 Idiots!

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Fatima Shahbaz

Rising senior in Adams House studying Government and South Asian Studies with a Secondary in Economics

She has currently been interning as a civil rights legal intern for the Council on American Islamic relations, where she’s had the opportunity to help repatriate Yemeni Americans and advocate for those impacted by discrimination and Islamophobia in employment and the workplace. On her work, she said, “It’s honestly been an incredible insight into the world of legal advocacy and has showed me how much progress can be made through the law.”

Fatima adds, “During quarantine, I’ve been doing a lot of baking! I’m currently experimenting with incorporating cardamom and pistachio is almost everything, but my friends are limiting my creative pursuits and it’s sad.”

Manasi Maheshwari

Rising Senior in Currier House studying Computer Science and Economics

This summer, Manasi is working at a startup building products to connect friends through casual games. She’s been working on initiatives to make CS at Harvard more inclusive and fostering entrepreneurship on campus through Harvard Computer Society, and encourages first years to become involved in the community. One of these is hosting a podcast called TechInColor to spotlight the journeys of diverse leaders in tech and business - stay tuned for the launch soon!


In her free time in quarantine, she’s been hiking, trying her hand at digital art, and using all the time with family to binge Bollywood movies and learn to cook her favorite Indian dishes. So far, she especially loves homemade gobi manchurian.

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Anagha Kumar

Rising Junior in Winthrop House studying History & Science and Neuroscience

This summer she has been helping to to plan Ghungroo 2021 and working at an organization that is addressing the social isolation and loneliness epidemic. When talking about Ghungroo, she said, “Although the show will probably look different this year, I think Ghungroo is one of the most beautiful culminations of South Asian culture at Harvard (and I encourage all incoming first years to get involved)!”

During her free time, she watches every possible Bollyshake video and continue curating my playlist of South Asian bops! “One of my favorite South Asian foods on campus is the saag paneer from maharajas” and her favorite South Asian movies are anything with Deepika Padukone in it.

Nisha Seyed

Rising Sophomore in Lowell House studying Government and Philosophy

This summer she is interning for the Truman National Security Project, a non profit organization dedicated to creating progressive foreign policy. Working under the CEO Jenna Ben Yehuda, she has come together with other members to discuss foreign policy and participate in incredible speaker events.

During quarantine Nisha has been taking walks and catching up on books that she didn’t have time for in college! Her favorite South Asian food is probably butter chicken and garlic naan made by her mom. Nisha says, “My mom is an amazing cook!”

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Brammy Rajakumar

Rising Sophomore in Lowell House studying Chemistry

Brammy is working with Dr. Ann-Christine Duhaime from MGH through the Harvard Undergraduate Center for Environment this summer. As part of her team, Brammy is conducting and compiling research on mask guidelines and viable materials for creation of a washable, modular, transitioning fabric mask suitable for a medical environment that could work as both a surgical and an N95. They are also looking into possibilities for building a consolidated Mass General green Children’s Hospital in Boston.

 

On her work this summer, Brammy said, “The connections between environmental consciousness and medicine, although often overlooked, cannot be emphasized enough, with climate change and gaps in the healthcare system disproportionately affecting marginalized communities. The difficulties of meeting all the guidelines for a hospital setting while minimizing waste and going “green” are ones that our team has spent a lot of time considering and trying to find ways to mitigate!”

 

In her free time, she’s been biking, sleeping, rewatching Disney shows, scrolling through Instagram mindlessly and listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat. She also works part-time for HSA and is taking an orgo class through the Summer School.

Srividya Maganti

Rising Junior in Leverett House studying Social Studies

This summer she’s interning for Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council, where she helps to provide legal assistance to disputing landlords and tenants, as well as victims of housing discrimination. She has also spent “a significant portion of my internship conducting research and interviews for an environmental justice case concerning a predominantly Black and impoverished community that has been living in raw sewage for decades.” On her work, Srividya said, “In such a tumultuous time where existing inequities have been exacerbated and made increasingly visible, I am grateful to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these marginalized people.”

 

During her free time in quarantine, she has been swimming and perfecting the art of making avocado toast. Her favorite South Asian food is paneer tikka masala!

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Bhargavi Garimella

Rising Sophomore in Eliot House studying Neuroscience

This summer, she’s working with Narika (a Bay Area nonprofit serving South Asian women facing domestic violence) on a research project with the goal of empowering the South Asian American community around combatting the pervasive and complex issue of gender-based violence. When discussing the nonprofit, she said, “Our community experiences higher rates of domestic violence and there are tremendous barriers survivors must overcome to even report their abuse, let alone receive support. In my opinion, this is one of the most pressing issues facing our community –– unfortunately, very little research has been done around this issue, making the work much more difficult for organizations like Narika, so I am hoping to start filling that gap with this project!There are nonprofits serving South Asian domestic violence survivors in almost every state and many cities –– I would encourage everyone to seek out the work that is being done in their community and support these nonprofits with your time or donations!”

 

During quarantine, Bhargavi has been spending her time reading much more and kayaking.

Nina Chandra

Rising Sophomore in Quincy House studying English

She is interning this summer at 826 Valencia, a non-profit organization in SF which supports under-resourced students in the Bay Area with their expository and creative writing skills. She’s planning on teaching lessons, as well as facilitating workshops, to help inspire high school students to find their own creative voices. During her free time during quarantine she’s been learning how to play the ukulele and how to cook!  

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