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The Washington Leadership Program (WLP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building the next generation of leadership from within the South Asian American community through innovative programs.

The organization was founded in August 2008 in memory of publisher and philanthropist Gopal Raju, who sponsored a program that placed over 170 students in Congressional internships over 15 years. The organization was founded by alumni of Mr. Raju's program who seek to continue his legacy and continue this vital program for the community.


Harin Contractor


Harin J. Contractor was a former Economic Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Labor. Harin worked in the Obama Administration for over three years working on economic analysis for key initiatives. Harin is the co-founder of The Washington Leadership Program. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia (BA) and the University of Chicago (MPP).


Nisha Jain


Nisha Jain is a Senior Vice President at GBAO with over a decade of experience in conducting quantitative and qualitative research for Democratic candidates, progressive causes, advocacy groups, and Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to joining GBAO, Nisha was Research Director at Momentum Analysis, where she led quantitative and opposition research for Democratic campaigns, oversaw survey methodology and administration, analyzed data, performed multivariate statistical analysis and developed targeting recommendations.

Nisha is the co-founder of the Washington Leadership Program. She is a graduate of George Mason University where she earned a bachelor’s  degree in Mathematics.

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Suparna Reddy

Suparna Reddy is a Legislative Counsel for Senator Jack Reed (RI) in the U.S. Senate. She has been closely involved with WLP in an organizing capacity since 2017. Previously, she worked as an antitrust lawyer at a large law firm in DC. In addition to interning at the U.S. Department of Labor and Canadian Parliament, she has also worked on economic development in Cleveland, Ohio and Hyderabad, India.

Program Director: Suparna Reddy (WLP '12)

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Shikha Chivukula

Shikha is a Senior Business Analyst working in Capital One’s US Card division. She has previously worked as a Data Analyst at Fannie Mae and with several government agencies as an environmental-economics consultant in Cambridge, MA and student at American University. She also has significant experience with multiple nonprofits working in the immigration, gender-based violence, arts management, and queer-affirming spaces. Shikha was a '15 scholar placed at USAID and has a BS in Economics.

Operations (WLP '15)

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Riya Patel

Riya is the Managing Director for Government at Dcode. Her team works directly with the federal government on how to be better customers and enablers of high growth tech. Dcode connects the tech and government to get better tech into federal missions.Previously, Riya worked at the Defense Innovation Board and Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. She earned her degree from Tufts University in international security and Russian language.

Operations (WLP '17)


Faryal Jafri

Faryal Jafri is a Senior Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton where she serves as contract support for the Department of State. She supports Global Initiatives within the Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism (WMDT) under the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation. She was a 2016 scholar placed at the Department of Defense's Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment. She holds a BA from Tufts University in International Relations.

Operations (WLP '16)

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Shivank Singh

Shivank Singh is a program coordinator with the Healthy Families Initiative at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. Previously, he worked as a legal assistant for RAICES, an AmeriCorps VISTA for Boston Medical Center, and on congressional campaigns in his hometown of Cincinnati. Shivank holds a BS from the University of Cincinnati in Neuroscience.

Communications (WLP '18)


Anmol Nagar

Anmol is an External Affairs Project Management Associate at Capital One, based out of Washington, DC. She previously interned at Dcode, a federal facing technology accelerator and has experience in program management, research, and client relationship management. She is a WLP 2018 scholar where she interned with Congressman Ami Bera. She graduated in 2021 from Wellesley College with an Economics Major and Psychology Minor.

Communications (WLP '18)

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Rucha Modi

Rucha (she/her) is a Fulbright Scholar researching youth interfaith dialogue in Mumbai. Previously, she worked in the Office of Vice President Harris and the Center for American Progress. During her WLP summer, Rucha interned with USAID’s Office of Budget and Resource Management. She graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Global Studies and Public Affairs.

Communications (WLP '20)

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Mihiri Kotikawatta

Mihiri works as a Private Sector Partnerships Coordinator for a global health non-profit located in Boston. Through her role, she works with private corporations and foundations to address health inequities in both the United States and in low income countries. During her WLP summer, Mihiri interned with Rep. Ami Bera. She graduated from the University of California San Diego in the spring of 2021 with a dual degree in Political Science: International Relations and Global Health.

Communications (WLP '20)

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Waleed Hashmi

Waleed is a Foreign Affairs Officer with the State Dept.’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. Previously, he worked as a Program Analyst with the department’s Diplomatic Security bureau. Waleed graduated from George Mason University with a Master’s and Undergrad degree, focusing on Public Policy. Waleed is a proud member of the WLP family and looks to support new fellows of the program.

Fundraising (WLP '13)

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Sonalee Rau

Sonalee is a life sciences consultant and public health researcher. She received her MPH from the Department of Health Policy & Management at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she also serves on the Alumni Board. Prior to graduate school, she worked at several federal agencies, and in policy research at the Atlantic Media Company. Sonalee was a 2012 WLP Scholar and interned at the Department of Labor.

Fundraising (WLP '12)

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Arjun Ramani

Arjun is an economist and journalist working to understand the drivers of innovation and the macroeconomy. He is The Economist's global economics correspondent in London and a researcher at Stanford where he did his undergrad in economics and master’s in computer science. In 2018 Arjun was a WLP scholar and worked at the White House Council of Economic Advisors. He has also worked in finance at Citadel. In his free time Arjun loves playing basketball and reading science fiction.

Fundraising (WLP '18)


Archita Taylor
Joy Swain

Jacob Mathai

Meera Patel


The WLP Board of Directors are prominent members of the community who provide their wisdom and experience in support of the organization. Our current Board of Directors include:

Amy Mehta

Mathan Parasuram

Gautam Raghavan

Kapil Sharma


Moh Sharma

Jasjit Singh

Sita Sonty

Mini Timmaraju


Academic Excellence

2 Rhodes Scholars

5 Truman Scholars

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