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MY VOTE MY Voice 

 

This student was a strong IB candidate with a predicted score of 42/45 at a school with consistent US outflow. She had an ACT score of 35, and, when we met her, was interested in Political Science. She had engaged in volunteer work for a local low-income community, and was a successful student-athlete; a member of the school football, basketball, and athletics team.

We first helped her focus her interest in politics through a series of online courses and readings; she gradually discovered her passion in broadening access to the franchise, which happened to coincide with the Indian governmental elections. We worked with her to structure an internship at the Election Commission, after which we gained additional work experience at the BJP IT Cell, where she learned about micro-messaging and social media targeting. On the basis of these experiences, she gained admission to YYGS, where she concentrated in International Relations.

This candidate ultimately culminated her profile by founding “My Vote My Voice”, a direct-action social initiative in which she helped Indian domestic migrants change their voter registration to reflect their address change in Delhi. This is an important but often ignored social issue in India, which possesses more than 100 million domestic migrants, who leave their hometowns for more opportunities and better employment – only to find themselves effectively disenfranchised stripped of the voice promised them through democratic direct representation.

This candidate held a series of voter registration camps throughout Delhi – at factories, NGOs, and churches – and ended up directly enfranchising more than 100 new voters, whom she also escorted to the polls on the morning of the Delhi Municipal elections. She additionally held a camp in Mumbai, where she trained other student volunteers in voter-enrolment procedures, and ultimately was given permission to found her school’s first Politics Club. She supported her project with a website, project report, and short video series. In her application essays, this candidate movingly recounted the humour and pathos of her project, and eventually gained admission to Georgetown SFS and Duke.

Learn more about MVMV at http://www.myvotemyvoice.in/

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JAGRUK

 

This candidate was a strong ISC student at a school with moderate US outflow. She had an SAT score of 1510, and had participated in the Duke TIPS Summer Session, where she explored Economics. When we met her, this candidate was torn between potentially majoring in Economics or Biology, at which she equally excelled. At the time, she had accrued a strong record of social service with a religiously affiliated charity near her house, and had recently completed a research internship at an international bone marrow NGO, where she contributed simple analytics to the donor matching process.

The first action-item for this candidate was to help her understand that her academic interests in Economics and Biology could be combined in the specialisation of health economics, which explores issues relating to health care access and outcomes for the underprivileged; subsequently, we encouraged her to attempt the AP Micro and Macroeconomics exams (on which she got 5s) and begin reading Dr. Jeffrey Sachs’ The End of Poverty. She began working with the Breast Cancer Patient Benefit Foundation of India, and organised a fundraising event for them in her school; additionally, she undertook a structured research internship with a Delhi-based genetics company, and performed original research to a published science paper, for which she received acknowledgement.

This candidate’s interests in biology, economics, and women’s health advocacy found their ultimate expression in Jagruk, a grassroots cancer awareness initiative in which this candidate linked resources from NGOs around Delhi to provide first-time mammograms to low-income women. Breast cancer is the second most-common cancer in India, and disproportionately affects younger woman. This candidate wanted to radically and directly broaden access to mammograms for women in need, while better understanding the cultural and financial barriers to this relatively simple and inexpensive form of preventative healthcare.

Jagruk was an unusually skilful and well-conceived project, which reflected this candidate’s broad understanding of developing economics. Instead of seeking to forge new ground, Jagruk aimed to address systematic challenges by leveraging the expertise and infrastructure of existing organisations like the Earth Saviours Foundation, BCPFI, and the Rotary Club. And it did so in spectacular fashion. Over the course of six months, Jagruk held eight camps across Delhi, and partnered with the BCPFI to provide institutional after-care. This candidate developed original marketing material and actively fundraised at Diwali fairs or ‘melas’, raising more than 6000 USD. In the end, she had delivered more than 150 first-time mammograms, and had increased the scale and tempo of her camps as she gained experience and confidence.

As an effort to help vulnerable and underserved women gain access treatment to a preventable disease, Jagruk was outstanding; however, as an informed expression of public health leadership and Development Economics, Jagruk was superior. Jagruk was supported by a website and external letters of recommendation, and this candidate’s essays reflected her passion to develop hyper-local and culturally sensitive solutions to systemic health challenges in the developing world, for which she was ultimately accepted early to Duke.

Find out more about Jagruk at http://www.jagruk.org/

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Her story

 

This candidate was an outstanding student at a private IB school in New Delhi which had established outflow to the US. Her predicted scores were 43/45, and she had achieved a 34 on the ACT early in 11th grade. This candidate had demonstrated a strong track record of academic engagement, and had participated in numerous school clubs and sports teams with distinction; at the time we met her, she had been asked by the school to contribute content to its new mission statement, and had compiled an impressive record of social-service at CanKids, a Delhi-based NGO to support cancer victims and families.

Our first task was to help this candidate begin formulating a coherent academic interest, which reflected her diverse leadership, academic, and extracurricular achievement. We advised her to begin engaging with structured social science research, and she ended up developing an article under the mentorship of a Delhi-based OBGYN on the feasibility of public-private partnerships in the field of women’s health, focusing on the efficacy of current government offerings in cervical cancer testing, and the potential for new technologies to disrupt this inefficient ineffective health care market. This paper was subsequently published in a major daily magazine, and was sent to universities in hard copy.

Building on her growing passion for sophisticated women’s rights advocacy, we assisted this candidate in ideating and implementing Herstory, a grassroots documentary series which featured original interviews with women whose husbands has been incarcerated in the Tihar Jail. In the spirit of ethnographic inquiry, the candidate visited these women’s homes, experienced their lives, and documented the social, cultural, and economics stigmas they faced because of their husband’s incarceration status. She shot, edited, and posted several short videos on her YouTube channel, performed fundraising to connect them with mental health resources, and personally ran several short up-skilling camps to broaden their professional horizons.

HerStory was a strong project because of its targeted scope and coherent academic underpinnings. It reflected an advanced understanding of political science and economics, and presented a compelling deep dive into the lives of women whose stories are too often ignored. In retaining a narrow focus throughout, HerStory demonstrated leadership, compassion, and – most importantly - a well-developed understanding of social science inquiry, and was supported by a website, her documentaries, and a survey she developed and administered in both English and Hindi. This candidate wrote poignantly about one of the HerStory woman in her application essays, and eventually gained admission to Duke, Brown, and Stanford.

Hear from the founder of Her Story and the women she worked with: 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO9V16iXAiVHx680I_ico9g

https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2018/02/herstory-the-battle-for-justice-by-wives-of-incarcerated-men/