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Soumya Nadabar begins Fulbright Assignment in India

Photo of Soumya Nadabar with Mr. and Mrs. Wuf at NC State.
Soumya Nadabar - showing some school spirit with Mr. and Mrs. Wuf at NC State.

A summer 2016 internship assignment with an international development organization in India inspired Soumya Nadabar, who graduated from NC State University last December, to apply for a Fulbright award. She was notified that she had been selected this past spring for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in India.

Nadabar was a student in both the Poole College of  Management and College of Humanities and Social Sciences at NC State, and received her bachelor’s degree with a double major in economics and international studies. She responded to questions about the Fulbright award and her plans in an email interiew with Poole College communications.

During her summer 2016 internship in India, Nadabar said she focused on establishing life skills education centers for adolescent girls in a rural, under-resourced community. “When I returned to the U.S., I felt drawn to go back, connect with the country, and use my skills to continue working with youth through education,” she said in an email interview with Poole College communications.

Nadabar is leaving for India at the end of June and will be teaching from August through late March at the PYDS Learning Academy, a co-ed school founded by an NGO.

Following are additional comments from her email interview with Poole College communications.

Q: What is your Fulbright award enabling you to do?

I will be teaching four days a week at a school, and volunteering at a local NGO on the fifth day. I also will have the opportunity to work with students outside the classroom through extracurriculars. Fulbright also encourages us to take up side projects, such as research or volunteering or something otherwise, to immerse ourselves in the country and culture.

Q: How do your studies and the Fulbright award fit with your career goals?

My degrees in international studies and economics shaped the way I thought about global engagement, particularly when it comes to alleviating global inequality and injustice. This award gives me long-term exposure to the particular issues of a country, community and culture; in this case, in India. It gives me an opportunity to teach, work and live abroad, to gain greater understanding cross-culturally, and potentially, to do meaningful research.  I hope (following this assignment) to travel and am interested in pursuing a master’s or doctorate in international studies or a related field, and am considering going into academics and becoming a university professor or working with an NGO.

Q: How did your dual degree studies as an undergrad support or increase your interest in what you are doing now as a Fulbright recipient?

My dual degree studies definitely influenced my interest, because I received such an interdisciplinary approach to current pressing global issues. I’m also an Alexander Hamilton Scholar, a program for students interested in majoring in both international studies (in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences) and a major in Poole College. Students who apply and are accepted become part of an organization of like-minded students. I got a lot of support from one of the Hamilton Scholar program advisor, Dr. Murray, who was also my international studies advisor.

Q: Explain the Fulbright application process.

The application process itself is quite lengthy. It requires two written statements, an on-campus preparatory interview organized by Dr. Kershner from the Fellowship Advising Office, and then months of waiting to hear back if you got through as a semi-finalist and ultimately finalist. It definitely takes time and effort.

Q: Why India, and where will you be in India?

I chose India because I wanted to return to a place of personal cultural/ancestral significance and I also wanted to build on my experience from my previous summer internship. I’ll be in Dehradun, India, which is a small city in northern India within the Himalayan foothills.