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Meera Kumar–Rotary Skelton/Jones Scholarship

Name: Meera Kumar

Class Year: 2016

Hometown: Chandler, AZ

Major(s): Economics

Minors or Concentrations: Art History, Mathematics

Opportunity and Year: Rotary Foundation Local Scholarships and Grants, 2018-19

Project Summary: I will be pursuing my MSc in Gender, Development, and Globalization at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The program is housed in the Gender Institute, which is one of the only institutes of its kind with faculty and resources devoted to understanding the “gendered nature of social processes.”

How did W&L prepare you for this opportunity? While the Rotary Foundation is an international organization, I had to apply through the local chapter in Lexington, an opportunity that I found out about through W&L. The late Dr. John DeVogt, Professor of Management emeritus, helped me in the preparation of my application, as did the Fellowship office.  My coursework—along with extracurricular and international opportunities—allowed me to explore issues that matter deeply to me and I naturally found myself drawn to questions surrounding gender and development.

Why did you apply for this opportunity? I applied for the opportunity during my Fulbright year (2016-2017) in India, where I was studying the intersection between gender and modern Indian art. This particular program at LSE seemed a good way continue studying gender issues, although in a different context—and it aligned nicely with the Rotary Foundation’s mission. The scholarship helps offset a significant portion of the costs of tuition, room and board during my year in London pursuing the Masters.

Post-graduation Plans: I hope to work in the policy-making sphere, but I am unsure of how this might manifest. I have a burgeoning interest in urban planning, and could see myself working for a city government, in development consulting, or for an international agency such as the World Bank or IFC.

How will this opportunity help you achieve your goals? Having a specialized Masters degree and working on an involved thesis will provide the theoretical backing for more practical questions that I will experience once in the field. I have also considered pursuing a PhD and this Masters will help me clarify whether or not I go that route.

Extracurricular Involvement:

Residential Life; SAIL; ESOL; Engineers without Borders.

Off-campus Experience:

After graduating, I spent a year in West Bengal, India on a Fulbright Research Grant. During college, I spent my junior year abroad at the University of Oxford and had several international internships—in Mongolia, France, Germany, and England.

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