Ms. Nirupama Pradhan
Specialization: Political Science
Home institution in US: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Host Institution in India: Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, Karnataka  
Start date/Month in India: August 2012
Duration of grant: 9 months

Brief Bio:
Ms. Niru Pradhan graduated with a B.A. in political science and Spanish from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. While completing her undergraduate studies, Ms. Pradhan authored a research investigation regarding changes in the demand of labor within the soy industry with the support of the Fundación Simón Rodríguez, Argentina. She also authored a research paper about the regional operations of the Akshaya Patra Foundation, India with the support of the U.S. National Soybean Research Laboratory. Since graduating from college, Ms. Pradhan has been working as a project assistant at Sidley Austin LLP, where she he has been responsible for assisting in trials, conducting fact investigations, managing data in multi-district litigations, acting as a Spanish language interpreter and preparing witnesses for trial. Ms. Pradhan’s personal interests include volunteering in her local community, long-distance running, hiking, nature photography and dancing Argentine tango.

Ms. Pradhan’s Fulbright research project, “The Role of Community Ownership in the Success of Social Welfare Programs,” will examine the relationship between decentralized forms of development and the residual effects on women's empowerment by studying the world’s largest provider of midday meals: the Akshaya Patra Foundation. She will examine the strategic employment initiatives used by this Foundation in the rural communities that it serves in Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. She also plans to conduct interviews and focus groups with women employed by Akshaya Patra.