South Asia Studies' Priyanka Varma Named Fulbright Scholar


Priyanka Varma, recent South Asia Studies alum, has been awarded the Fulbright-Nehru research scholarship in India from the United States-India Educational Foundation, the Institute of International Education, and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board at the U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for the 2017-2018 academic year.


Priyanka recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in South Asia Studies and International Relations, minors in Political Science and French, and a language certificate in Hindi. Since graduation, she has been serving as a Research Assistant and Project Coordinator at the Brookings Institution, Center for Universal Education in Washington, DC. At Brookings, Priyanka works on the Millions Learning project, which seeks to understand where and how education interventions are scaling quality learning for marginalized children in low- and middle-income countries around the world.


As part of her Fulbright award, Priyanka will explore the potential reasons for Dalit children’s high primary school dropout rates in India. In order to do so, she plans to conduct comparative ethnographic case studies, studying both Dalit and non-Dalit children in Gurgaon to compare and contrast the factors impacting their educational participation. She looks forward to drawing from her experience at Brookings when completing her research study in India.


Priyanka would like to thank her professors, mentors, and advisors from the South Asia Studies Department, International Relations Department, South Asia Center, Center for the Advanced Study of India, Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, and Penn Graduate School of Education for their generous guidance and support. She is thrilled by this opportunity and hopes that her research project on high primary school dropout rates among Dalit children in India can help shed light on an important issue.