Ms. Sarah Schear
Specialization: Public Health
Home institution in US: Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts
Host Institution in India: Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh  
Start date/Month in India: August 2012
Duration of grant: 9 months

Brief Bio:
Ms. Sarah Schear is a 2012 honors graduate of Amherst College, Massachusetts with a B.A. in anthropology. She wrote her senior honors thesis on transformations of kinship and activism related to the falling child sex ratio in India, and she has also done research in feminist science studies analyzing the use of animal models in genetic studies of sex difference. During college, Sarah became interested in medical anthropology and in gender, health and migration issues in the U.S. and South Asia. She was a member of a student organization that connects Amherst College students and faculty with local and global public health organizations and practitioners and draws attention to health disparities in the Amherst community in particular. After her freshman year, Sarah interned at the International Rescue Committee (IRC)’s Suburban Washington Resettlement Center, where she assisted recently arrived refugee families in accessing medical insurance and respectful health care services. She spent her junior year of college in Varanasi, India where she lived with a wonderful host family and studied Hindi, anthropology and Kathak dance. After completing her Fulbright fellowship, Sarah plans to eventually attend medical school and dedicate her future work to women’s and children’s health, and possibly family practice, as a way of addressing health disparities.

Ms. Schear’s Fulbright project, “Women's Empowerment and Sex Ratios in Northwest India,” centers on the perspectives of childbearing women and families, and of NGO staff, on the value of girl and boy children, and on approaches to increasing the low child sex ratios in parts of North and West India, focusing on the Udaipur and Varanasi districts. Through focus group and individual interviews, conducted in collaboration with an NGO working in women's empowerment and gender equity, Ms. Schear will examine what is at stake in the lives of women and families making family planning decisions and what approaches NGOs find promising for fostering the survival of girl children.