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2019 Summer in South Asia Fellows

Meet the 2019 Summer in South Asian fellows!

Brennan Burrows
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Brennan Burrows is a freshman planning to study public health sciences. His future plans include attending medical school, becoming a surgeon, and working with underserved populations. During his 2 months in India, Brennan plans to develop his passion for healthcare by interning with the Smile Foundation in Delhi. Here, he will be interning in a program called "Smile on Wheels," where Brennan's project will investigate the burden of diseases affecting different locations receiving healthcare from Smile Foundation. He will then travel to two of these locations in Surat and Kolkata, volunteering with the mobile health clinics.

Virginie De Smet
Stephen M. Ross School of Business and College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Virginie De Smet is a freshman pursuing a dual degree in business administration and chemistry with a minor in math. After graduating, she plans to work in life science consulting, and later in life she hopes to be doing work for a non-profit organization. Virginie will be spending her time in India working with an NGO focused on clean water initiatives. She will be gathering information about the economic implications from the lack of access to clean water and the socio-cultural challenges that face sustainable implementation of initiatives.

Sachit Grover
Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Sachit Grover is a junior studying marketing and strategy. In correspondence to his business school curriculum, he has two minors in acting and performing arts management. He is very interested in the intersection of business within the entertainment industry- specifically Bollywood, the Indian film industry. He will be volunteering for four weeks in May 2019 at a Bollywood film production company this summer to learn the ins and outs of how movies are made and marketed start to finish. He wants to specifically understand how social justice movies are made and how sensitive topics are addressed to the public. Upon graduation, he aims to work full time in the Bollywood industry. One of his goals in the future is to create an arts organization for underprivileged children which will help recruit talent for the Bollywood industry.

Alec Ockaskis
School of Music Theatre, & Dance

Alec Ockaskis is a first year senior studying percussion performance and music education with the intent of a platform career teaching and performing in inner-city Detroit. Using education as a platform, Alec intends to engage with the community through his other interests in music performance, graphic design, photography & videography, and instrument design and construction. Alec will be spending five weeks in Varanasi studying Tabla under the Banares gharana. In doing so, he hopes to gain a deeper insight into the relationship between teacher and student. With this, a greater dialogue can be met in addressing a more holistic approach to current music education.

Joseph Pongrac
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Joseph Ponngrac is a sophomore pursuing a BS in biopsychology, cognition, neuroscience and a minor in business administration. He has concentrated on personality and relationship psychology with special interest in stress and hormones. He aspires to earn an MD to gain a holistic perspective on healthcare from hospital administration to patient care. With this, he plans to continue exploring the intersection between business and healthcare. His goals include increasing access to healthcare internationally and optimizing non-profit health organizations in order to alleviate healthcare inequities in developing regions.

Rachael Rich
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Rachael Rich is a sophomore majoring in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience, and works for two research labs at U-M; Ethan Kross' Emotion & Self Control Lab, and Robin Edelstein's Relationships & Hormones Lab. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a PhD in psychology. Rachael will be spending a portion of her summer with UMMEED, an NGO that works holistically to promote emotional and psychological wellness for people from socially and economically deprived backgrounds. Her final project will highlight mental health stigmas and disparities for men and women in India, and pose answers to questions regarding societal norms within psychological counseling.

Shannon Shaughnessy
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Shannon Shaughnessy is a junior studying psychology with a minor in international studies. She is particularly interested in the intersection of culture and psychology in adolescents. After graduation, she hopes to get a PhD and work with children in a research setting. Shannon will be spending eight weeks in Bangalore volunteering for Enabling Leadership, a nonprofit that helps cultivate leadership skills in children through innovative soccer, music, and LEGO programs. She will help create and validate a new scale to measure life skill attainment in the children. Shannon’s final project will explore how EL’s programs lead to an overall improvement in mental health.

Blaine Teahan
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Blaine Teahan is a sophomore in studying biochemistry with admission to the School of Public Health pending. He has interests in global and community health and aim to extend healthcare to underserved communities. He also has interests in biomedical research and works in the Muntean lab in the U-M Medical School, studying leukemia. Upon graduation, he hopes to join the Peace Corps, and then likely pursue a postgraduate education—whether that be in medicine, public health, or biomedical research. Other interests include soccer, ultimate frisbee, travel, and Mandarin Chinese.

Omar Uddin
Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Omar Uddin is a sophomore majoring in business administration with a minor in writing. Education equality will be his reflection topic, as he examines the ways leaders in India are resolving inequities in education. In America, where our class hierarchy is heavily ingrained, major education inequities run along racial and social class lines. Finding solutions to these issues is his life goal.

Ryan Woock
Ford School of Public Policy, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Ryan is a sophomore planning to study public policy with minors in Asian studies and business. Post-graduation, he plans to work in international relations, investment banking, or attend law school. Ryan will be staying in Pondicherry to work with Prime Trust, a microfinance NGO. He will primarily focus on local women’s groups, identifying and developing projects to promote economic self-sufficiency. He also hopes to gain insight into how the new regulatory environment has affected the day-to-day operations of the organization.