Students and Alumnae

South Asia Studies alumnae go on to pursue a variety of fields and interests, serving as role models for current and prospective students alike.

Aliza Amin | Aliza was awarded a prestigious Schiff Fellowship for her scholarship.  Aliza is a senior from Lahore, Pakistan.  She majors in English and South Asia Studies.  Her honors thesis in South Asia Studies examines the evolution, during the Bengal Renaissance, of Indian nationalist literature and conceptualizations of an Indian nation.  She explores the relationship between the British empire and the nineteenth century Bengali intelligentsia and how Bengali writers imagined an Indian identity through Anglo-Indian cross cultural interactions.  She investigates how literature of the Bengal Renaissance, a predominantly Hindu movement, portrayed Muslims, the assigned Other whose own contributions to nationalist literature were lacking until the 1870s.  The project seeks to understand the roots of the modern nation-states of India and Pakistan and how Bengali colonial literature became so influential to conceptualizations of India during the twentieth century Indian nationalist movement. 


Katie Ellis | Katie is an associate at Harmon Curran, in Washington D.C., where she advises on legal issues facing nonprofits. Before joining Harmon Curran, Katie served as the Executive Director of Community Outreach Group, LLC, a political consulting firm that specializes in canvassing and organizing campaigns for elections and nonprofit advocacy. She was responsible for launching the firm, which hired over 8,000 employees and knocked on 6 million doors, and raised and managed an annual budget of $13 million. Before that, Katie worked for various nonprofits leading national campaigns and capacity-building efforts. She has also done fieldwork for candidates for political office. Katie volunteers with a local legal services clinic that advises low-income clients on employment law. 


Rebecca Geroge | After graduating from Wellesley College, Becca became a program assistant for the Asia Foundation’s Washington D.C. Office and Luce Scholars Programs and then a project coordinator for the World Resources Institute's U.S. Climate Initiative.  She will start graduate school in August 2019 at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies for a master's degree in environmental management.  While at Wellesley College, she majored in South Asia Studies and International Relations-Political Science.  During her time there, she interned with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Office of India Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and conducted research on water and sanitation services in New Delhi with Action India, an NGO working to empower women.  After graduate school, she hopes to continue working on the environmental and equity issues she first learned about through the South Asia Studies program at Wellesley.


Olinda Hassan | After Wellesley, Olinda was a Fulbright Fellow in Bangladesh where in addition to teaching English she conducted research on the use of mobile technology in public school education. She earned her MPA from Cornell University where she was the Managing Editor of the Cornell Policy Review. Olinda joined Twitter’s Trust and Safety team during graduate school, where she developed monetization policies with a focus on the Asia Pacific market. She went on to lead major policy work on online abuse, privacy, and media-based harassment for more than 300 million users worldwide. As a part of this effort, Olinda lead projects to help moderate content with cultural context in mind, building training tools, and programs to ensure diverse voices are included in the policy development process. A free speech advocate, Olinda's interest in technology stems from her international background and studies across the globe, including studying abroad in Morocco, Egypt, and India during her time at Wellesley. Currently, she is a Senior Manager in Trust and Safety at Spotify, where her team is dedicated to creating a safe platform for creators in the music and podcast streaming space. She is based in San Francisco, California.


Kethural Manokaran | Kethural is an environmental health policy researcher. Her current work aims to communicate the health effects of air pollution to policymakers and regulators to inform policies on air quality standards in the United States and around the world. Her current projects include a comprehensive report on trends in country-level air pollution exposure levels worldwide, a case study on household air pollution in Ghana, and an analysis of India’s new National Clean Air Programme. Kethural is passionate about healthcare systems and policy and primary care and community health; she hopes to continue onto medical school and serve in underserved communities. Kethural is a 2018 graduate of Wellesley College, where she studied Neuroscience and South Asia Studies. At Wellesley, she pursued research in the Neuroscience Program and at Boston Children’s Hospital and served on both the Wellesley Association for South Asian Cultures and the Pan-Asian Council. In her senior year, Kethural completed a group independent study exploring South and Southeast Asian diasporas with Professor Smitha Radhakrishnan; for her project, Kethural studied the Sri Lankan diaspora in the United States. The semester-long study culminated in Worlds in Motion, a multi-media platform that showcases the oral histories of individuals who have migrated from South Asia and Southeast Asia to all different parts of the world.

Sohini Pillai | After graduating from Wellesley with a BA in South Asia Studies and Theatre Studies in 2012, Sohini conducted research for nine months in New Delhi on modern performances of the Ramayana on a Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Fellowship. In 2015, Sohini earned an MA in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies from Columbia University. Sohini is currently a Ph.D candidate in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California Berkeley. Her dissertation project explores how regional religious traditions transformed the narration and transmission of the Mahabharata in premodern South Asia. To learn more about her research, please see her Academia page:


Rebecca Winslow | Immediately after graduation, Rebecca was awarded an American Institute of Indian Studies fellowship, where she spent ten months continuing her study of Urdu literature and poetry and Shia Muslim culture in Lucknow, India. After that, she continued to travel and work in the Middle East and South Asia, including teaching English at a college in Sana'a, Yemen and running teacher trainings in the backwaters of Kerala. She's traveled to 20 states in India, as well as throughout Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka. For the past five years, Rebecca has led gap year and study abroad programs in India, Nepal, and Bhutan for the company Where There Be Dragons. In addition to using her Hindi and Urdu skills nearly every day, she has worked to learn other languages in her travels including some Nepali, Malayalam, Ladakhi, Dzongkha, and Telugu. She lives in Hyderabad, India.