THE 2022 WLP SCHOLARS
White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI)
Ria Agarwal (she/her) is a rising junior from Salt Lake City, Utah, where is pursuing a double-major in International Relations and Economics at Tufts University. Her academic interests include human rights, international law, and gender equality, specifically within the United States and South Asia. She is also interested in exploring the intersections of economic policy and racial justice. In the summer and fall of 2021, Ria worked as an intern and Committee Coordinator at the Asian Pacific Islander Public Affairs organization in California, where she focused on bolstering AAPI representation in democratic processes. On campus, she is the Resources Co-Chair for JumboVote, a university-wide initiative to boost political learning and voter registration. She is also a member of 180 Degrees Consulting and an Indian classical dancer for Tufts Pulse.
House Committee on Homeland Security
Rhea Chandran is a rising senior and History major at Haverford College. She is the proud daughter of two Indian immigrants born and raised in Geneva, IL. On campus, Rhea is an advocate for marginalized students through her work in student government. As a co-secretary of the student Honor Council, Rhea introduced and campaigned for major anti-racist amendments to the improve the students’ Honor Code. Off campus, Rhea has served her community by working with Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, and the National Indo-American Museum. These positions have inspired Rhea to further engage with grassroots advocacy as it shapes federal policy. After graduation, Rhea intends to attend law school to serve as a legal advocate for immigrants and challenge structural inequalities that she identifies in her work.
USAID, Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning
Meghana Chimata (she/her) is a rising senior from Minneapolis where she attends the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and is pursuing a dual degree in Psychology and Political Science. She works in research in an Emergency Department at a Trauma 1 county hospital to improve medical care for diverse patient populations. In conjunction to this, she is a board member for her school’s Red Cross board where she works to set up blood drives across campus and community based clinics in the greater Twin Cities area. Meghana also works as a Lead Ambassador for the Sexual Assault Prevention Committee for the Desi Dance Network where she works to educate people across the nation and create policies about sexual assault and gender based violence prevention. Meghana’s passion for public service began when she served on her city’s Human Rights and Diversity Commission as a student Commissioner.
Zunayra Hemani (she/her) is a rising junior at the University of Houston, where she is currently majoring in Public Health with minors in Political Science and Biology. Zunayra is interested in how policy and legislation can affect the health outcomes of marginalized communities across the country. On campus, she has served as a Senator in the Student Government Association and was a former Student Ambassador for her University's Women's and Gender Resource Center. Currently, she is also the Director of the Council for Cultural Activities, a University-Sponsored Organization dedicated to preserving diversity and increasing cultural awareness on campus. Outside of school, she volunteers her time at a refugee clinic within her local mosque and has served a prior internship in congress with Rep. Lloyd Doggett. In her free time, she enjoys feeding her caffeine addiction, jewelry-making, and collecting stones.
White House Office of Presidential Correspondence
Department of State
Sandhya Kumar (she/her) is a rising senior at Yale College studying Global Affairs and Global Health. Serving as a youth representative on her county’s public health board introduced her to social determinants of health and fueled Sandhya’s eagerness to advocate for policy related to critical public health needs. This passion has translated into her working on health economics research and as an intern for a Congresswoman focused on healthcare. On campus, Sandhya serves as co-President of the Yale South Asian Society, led a summer leadership program with the Yale International Relations Association, and dances with the Rangeela Bollywood fusion team. This fall, she will be dual enrolled as a Masters in Public Health student at the Yale School of Public Health.
USAID, Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean
Daevan Mangalmurti is a rising junior at Yale University, where he’s studying Ethics, Politics and Economics. He’s passionate about education policy, South Asian affairs, and sustainable finance, and hopes to pursue further studies in public policy. On campus, Daevan leads the Dwight Hall Socially Responsible Investment Fund, the nation’s oldest undergraduate-run socially responsible investment fund, and writes about comparative environmental performance at the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. He also helps organize the Yale Hindi Debate, the only Hindi-language debate in the United States. He’s excited to witness federal policymaking first-hand and join the WLP family this summer.
Department of Transportation
Zainab Maniya (she/her) is a rising junior from Charlotte, NC. She's a double major in Business and Public Policy with a Spanish minor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Zainab's academic interests lie at the intersection of government and the private sector. Policy areas of interest to Zainab include health care, refugee, transportation, and housing policy. On campus, Zainab is involved in the vice president's office of Student Government, serves as a counsel for the University honor system, and is a member of the Student Dining Board. In her free time, she volunteers with a Rohingya refugee family in Orange County, who she helps with applying for different welfare assistance programs, learning English, and more. Zainab has vast experience with interning for non-profits like You Can Vote and the North Carolina Business Council and is excited to apply those skills this summer to a government internship in DC. Zainab aspires to one day attend law school.
Rep. Stephanie Bice (OK-5)
Jaliya Nagahawatte is a rising senior at Creighton University pursuing a dual degree in Fintech and Business Intelligence & Analytics. He uses his unique background to understand politics from an economic and data-driven perspective. On campus, he serves as the President of the Heider Business Senate and works to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students. In his local community, Jaliya established a local bail fund that worked during the summer of 2020 to provide relief to individuals seeking to protest racial injustice but were concerned with potential financial repercussions. The work his fund did lead to bails being posted for 50 individuals and raised over $10,000 in 5 days. He hopes to explore the intersection of fiscal policy with racial injustice to provide solutions for marginalized communities. The son of Sri Lankan immigrants, Jaliya is excited to join WLP and an experience that he knows will leave an indelible mark on him.
USAID, Bureau of Global Health
Khushi Patel (she/her) is a rising sophomore at Brown University pursuing a double degree in Public Health and International and Public Affairs. Khushi is actively involved on her campus community as she is an Analyst for Brown Consulting Club and a member of Brown's Women in Business, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She is a Bonner Community Fellow which is a prestigious four-year fellowship where she works with a Rhode Island non-profit organization: Progreso Latino on healthcare policy. She is passionate about fighting for the rights of immigrants and educational equity. She hopes to further her education by getting a Master's in Public Health with a focus on maternal and child health. This will better equip her to expand health care resources to reach at-risk populations.
Department of Commerce, SelectUSA
Kathir Venkat is a rising junior at Vanderbilt University studying Political Science with minors in Economics and Business. He has always been passionate about grassroots activism and currently interns for a nonprofit, Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence, in order to advocate for gun control legislation within Indiana. His academic research experience focuses on public opinion within Latin America as it relates to US aid distribution. He has worked to free wrongfully convicted individuals as a part of the Vanderbilt Prison Project and hopes to continue to identify pressing inequities within government institutions. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis and traveling with friends. This summer, he is excited to be part of the WLP family as he develops his interest in public service with the hope of attending law school.
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