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2015 Incoming Graduate Students


September 17, 2015

Loritta Ying Ping Chan
BA, Economics & South Asian Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Originally from Hong Kong, Loritta will begin at UW in the fall to begin her MA in South Asia Studies, where she plans to study Hindi. Having approached development from an economic perspective as an undergraduate, she wants to dwell deeper into its cultural and societal dimensions. This includes how caste and value systems influence identity formation, and how these shape the notions of development.

Regarding her reasons for pursuing an MA in South Asia Studies she says:

“As I pursue my future aspirations in academia, I hope my research in the ‘softer’ dimensions of development will ultimately complement research institutions and policy-makers in devising more effective, targeted strategies to help those in need – by understanding what it is that guides their actions.”

Mariam Sabri
BA, International Relations, Mount Holyoke College

mariam sabriMariam is interested in knowledge in nomadic societies including forms of informal knowledge, means of knowledge acquisition, sites of knowledge interchange and formalization of knowledge. A native Urdu speaker, she has also studied Persian, Pashto, and Russian. At UW she hopes to continue studying Persian and to learn to read and write the Devanagari script.

On why she wants to attend UW:

“I am interested in taking an interdisciplinary approach to deepening my knowledge of South Asia at the graduate level. JSIS and UW’s diverse array of language offerings and coursework on themes that relate to my research interests, renowned South Asia faculty, and the flexibility of taking classes across disciplines and regions make it an ideal program.”

She has worked in higher education in Pakistan for the last five years and recently taught in adjunct capacities at universities in Karachi. She is passionate about South Asian Islamicate history and is interested in pursuing an academic career in the field. She feels the M.A. in South Asia Studies will provide the requisite preparation for a doctoral program in South Asian history.

Krysta Walia
BA/BS, Spanish & Psychology, University of Washington

Krysta WaliaGrowing up north of Seattle in the town of Sedro-Woolley, Krysta is no stranger to UW programs. She first completed her undergraduate degree as a dual major in psychology and Spanish, and last year earned her Masters in Social Work. Building on her background in social work she says

“I want to get an MA in South Asian studies in hopes of advancing my knowledge and understanding of South Asian populations with a specific interest in Punjabi and Sikh diasporas. I recently completed the Masters of Social Work degree program at UW and hope to utilize my skills, knowledge, and understanding from this degree and bridge it with my interest in South Asian studies.”

Krysta has previously studied Punjabi through the Critical Language Scholarship Program and is presently in Jaipur studying intermediate Hindi, which she hopes to continue in the fall. Her interests include examining and learning about Sikh, Punjabi, and South Asian populations both in the US and globally.

Jayanthi Gowrishankaran
BS, Economics, Madras University

JayanthiIMG-20150915-WA0006 is coming to UW from Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, where she majored in Economics at Madras University. She is currently planning to study Sanskrit in the fall and hopes that the coursework in the South Asia program will enrich her understanding of her own country and its region. Jayanthi’s research interests include women, entrepreneurship, and development in South Asia.

On why she choose the Jackson School:

“I chose to UW to pursue this MAIS because by doing this course, I can get into research of the current prevailing condition of women,gender issues in rural India. Based on the knowledge gained and I can analyze and derive innovative ways and means to improve the same in future.”

Michael Walstrom
BA, Anthropology, Eastern Washington University

Michael majored in Anthropology at Eastern Washington University Leh - Srinagar highwayand began to formally study South Asia at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s program in Varanasi, India. After undergrad he studied advanced Hindi with the American Institute of Indian Studies in Jaipur. His research interests include imperialism, nationalism, South Asian religious and social reform, ethno-musicology, and South Asian languages.