Saaid Arshad

Ph.D. candidate in the Thayer School of Engineering

Dartmouth College

Saaid Arshad is a Ph.D. candidate in the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. His research is focused on building an easy-to-use, wearable device that can non-invasively monitor cardiac output. Saaid completed his B.A. in Engineering Sciences, with a minor in Economics, from Dartmouth College.

Noor Asif

M.A. candidate in the Department of Art History

University of Washington

Noor Asif is a M.A. candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Washington. Her focus is on Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art. She has completed her B.A. in English and a minor in Middle-Eastern Studies from Scripps College in Claremont.

Harris Chowdhary

B.S. candidate in International Political Economy

University of Texas at Dallas

Harris Chowdhary is a B.S. candidate in International Political Economy at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has previously completed coursework in Economics, Philosophy, History, and Urdu at LUMS. He has also completed coursework in Architecture/Interior Design at the Parsons School of Design in the New School.

Patricia Hartland

M.A. in Fine Arts and Creative Writing

University of Notre Dame

Patricia Hartland will receive her second in M.A. in Fine Arts and Creative Writing in May of 2019 from the University of Notre Dame. She completed her first M.A. in Comparative Literature/Literary Translation from the University of Iowa. Patricia completed her B.A. in Comparative Literature and Creative Writing from Hampshire College. 

Caylee Hong

Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology

University of California, Berkeley

Caylee Hong is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Caylee received a Bachelors in Common Law from McGill University and a Masters in Law from University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies. She also holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University College Utrecht.

Talib Jabbar

Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Literature

University of California, Santa Cruz

Talib Jabbar is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  He received his M.S. in Welfare Policy from Lund University and completed his B.A. in Political Studies, with a minor in Literature, from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

 Georg Lilie

M.A. candidate in the South Asian Studies Department of the School of Oriental and African Studies

University of London

Georg Lilie is a M.A. candidate in the South Asian Studies Department of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. He has completed his B.A. in History, with a minor in Area Studies, from Humboldt-Universität in Berlin.  

 Devyani Mehta

M.A. candidate in Global Governance, Politics, and Security

American University.

Devyani Mehta is a M.A. candidate in Global Governance, Politics, and Security at the American University. She received her B.A. in International and Global Studies, with minors in Terrorism Studies and Economics, from the University of Central Florida. 

Sarah Robinson

B.A. in Musical Arts

Vanderbilt University.

Sarah Robinson completed her B.A. in Musical Arts with a concentration in Ethnomusicology from Vanderbilt University. She plans to apply for a Ph.D. programs in ethnomusicology in the Fall of 2019. She is currently completing an Urdu language fellowship at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Lucknow.   

 Lauren Smyth

Ph.D. candidate in the Anthropology Department

University of California, Santa Barbara

Lauren Smyth is Ph.D. candidate in the Anthropology Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research examines Indian Muslim heritage in Leh Town, Ladakh. She completed her B.A. in Anthropology and French, with a minor in Art History, from St. John's University. 

 Jackson Walker

B.A. in Political Science and International Studies

Northwestern University

Jackson completed his B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Northwestern University. He plans on applying for Ph.D. programs in Political Science in Fall of 2019.

Awardees for 2018  

Julia Chatterjee

M.A. Candiate Department of Asian Languages and Literature

University of Washington

Julia Chatterjee is an M.A. student in the University of Washington's department of Asian Languages and Literature. She has spent the past five years of her academic career studying the languages and cultures of the Middle East and South Asia, with an emphasis on identifying and analyzing the hybrid cultural forms that emerged in the frontier zones between modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northern India. Julia plans to cultivate her ability to communicate in the Indo-Iranian borderlands and also gain access to the medieval and ancient linguistic predecessors, whose textual material she hopes to study. In the future, Julia aspires to become a scholar and professor of Indo-Iranian languages, culture, and history.

Dallon Asnes

B.A. Physics

Pomona College

Dallon Asnes recently graduated from Pomona College with a BA in Physics, where his projects and research focused on electrical energy and computer engineering. He is a member of Claremont Locally Grown Power’s technical team, which works on optimizing solar panel architecture to make panels available to low- and middle-income families at reduced cost. Dallon began learning Urdu and Hindi in 2016 as a Boren Scholar to India, and has also studied Persian, Punjabi and Bengali. By improving his colloquial language skills through the BULPIP Fellowship, Dallon hopes to help facilitate a widespread transition to renewable energy sources in Central and South Asia.

Maryam Ahmed

 B.A. Political Science and Race, Gender, and Nation under the Women Studies

University of Michigan 

Maryam Ahmed graduated from the University of Michigan in 2017 where she studied Political Science and Race, Gender, and Nation under the Women Studies department. She plans to pursue a J.D. following the BULPIP Fellowship. Her research interests include gender issues in South Asia, specifically economic empowerment for women of lower socio-economic status and gender equity in labor policies. Having grown up learning Punjabi, Maryam hopes to use the BULPIP experience to develop her Urdu skills so that she may be better able to connect with South Asian communities to advocate for social reform and gender equality.

Enas Jahangir

B.A. Arts in Religion

Smith College

Enas Jahangir is a recent graduate from Smith College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Religion. She has studied Urdu independently for the past two years, alongside other formal studies in languages such as Arabic, Persian, and French. Her research specifically aims to address how sexualities have been evaluated within the Islamic tradition, as well as to examine the underlying assumptions and framing of discourses surrounding 'homosexuality' and 'Islam.' She hopes to employ her academic work on such topics in tandem with art and poetry, using these as platforms for social change. 

Shabnam Ahmed

B.S. Global Public Health and Development 

University of Maryland

Shabnam Ahmed recently graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.S. in Global Public Health and Development (a degree she designed herself.) Shabnam's projects and research focused on women, and maternal and child health in south and central Asia. Shabnam has also studied Persian and began her study of Urdu as a Boren Scholar to Lucknow, India and has since wanted to further her study of language and culture in order to engage in public health field work in this region.

Zainab Syeda

B.A. International Studies 

California State University, Long Beach

Zainab Syeda completed her undergraduate degree from California State University, Long Beach in 2017, majoring in International Studies with a focus on Language and Culture in South Asia, and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. Her research interests include education development in South Asia, as well as immigration law and diaspora communities in the West. Zainab began her formal study of Urdu at the South Asian Summer Language Institute in Madison, Wisconsin and furthered her study of Urdu literature at the School of Oriental African Studies (SOAS) in London. Zainab hopes to use the skills that she acquires through BULPIP to provide legal representation to South Asian immigrant communities. After getting her JD, she hopes to pursue a PhD in anthropology. 

Kevin Shi 

Political Science and Public Policy

 University of Chicago

Kevin Shi graduated in 2016 from the University of Chicago where he studied political science and public policy. After college, he worked in Washington D.C. for the Center for Civilians in Conflict, where he worked on a report assessing how the U.S. arms sales process could be reformed to mitigate risk of civilian harm. For the past year, Kevin has been working in Lahore as the Babar Ali Foundation Fellow, where he has worked on various initiatives with LUMS and World Bank Pakistan. After Pakistan, he will begin a MA in War Studies at King's College London.

Awardees for 2017 

Ali Imam

B.A. in Economics and in International Studies, University of Michigan

Ali Imam is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he received his BA in Economics and International Studies, with a focus on Political Economy. He also completed studies in Asian languages and culture as well as Musicology. While at the University of Michigan, he conducted initial research on conservative Islamist political parties within the South Asian subcontinent. Ali looks to further his grasp on the Urdu language through the BULPIP Fellowship. He also hopes to research and understand the design and implications of historical Pakistani architecture and examining the intersection of art, music, and politics within Pakistan.

Gabriel Saheb

M.A. Candidate, South Asian Studies, SOAS University, London

Gabriel is a Masters student currently studying at SOAS University in London.  He has been studying Urdu for the past year at SOAS.  For his M.A. thesis, he is researching South Asian media potrayals of the Hazara community in Balochistan.  He also has interests in Urdu writings related to Saadat Hasan Manto, water rights issues within Pakistan, as well as general geopolitical issues within South Asia.

Shelby House

B.A. in Middle Eastern & South Asian Studies and in Comparative Politics, Vanderbilt University

Shelby House recently graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts in Middle Eastern & South Asian Studies and Comparative Politics. Her research interests include Pakistani domestic politics, counterterrorism, and American foreign policy in South Asia. After the BULPIP program, she intends to return to the States to pursue work in journalism and law with a focus on South Asian diaspora communities. Last spring, she was an Urdu language fellow at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Lucknow. She was also a participant of STARTALK at the University of Pennsylvania and the South Asia Summer Language Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Areej Jahangir

B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy,

Smith College

Areej received a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and Policy from Smith College in 2016. The focus of her research is on the issue of water security in Pakistan as a function of its history, geographic location, political divisions, economics, and sociology. Areej has grown up with Urdu around her and looks to improve her language proficiency, especially in reading and writing, to work with Pakistani and South Asian communities on environmentally, economically, and socially viable water solutions. After the program, she hopes to pursue a career in international environmental development.

Veronica Canas

M.T.S. in Islamic Studies, Harvard Divinity School

Veronica is a recent graduate of Harvard Divinity School where she completed her MTS in Islamic Studies and is also a graduate of Florida International University with a BA in Religious Studies. Her research interests are shared devotional practices and devotional literature in Pakistan and Northern India and the construction of gender and identity. She began studying Urdu in 2015 at the South Asia Summer Language Institute in Madison, Wisconsin and has participated twice in the CLS Urdu language program in Lucknow.

Mariam Yousuf

Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, University of California, Davis

Mariam is currently a third-year economics graduate student at the University of California, Davis. She is interested in Macroeconomic History. Eventually, she would like to research the macro-economy of British India in the late-nineteenth to early-twentieth century. Her interest in Urdu developed during her summer visits to Pakistan. Although she could speak and understand Urdu, she did not know how to read or write Urdu. She studied Urdu at the University of California, Berkeley to formally study the language. She would like to continue her formal education in Urdu in order to feel more comfortable and knowledgeable while conducting economic research about South Asia.

Azzah Ahmad

MA Candidate in Environmental History, SOAS, University of London

Azzah Ahmen is a MA candidate in the South Asia, Environmental History Department at SOAS University of London. She completed her BA at Syracuse University in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies. Azzah will be applying for PhD. Programs in South Asian History, with a focus on colonial division of the canal networks in Punjab and the implications that arise in the decision-making on Pakistani water policy.
Awardees for 2016 

Sohaib Baig

Ph.D. Candidate, History, University of California, Los Angeles

Sohaib is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at UCLA, studying the Muslim intellectual history of South Asia and the Indian Ocean. His dissertation explores intellectual exchange across South Asia and the Hijaz in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with particular focus on the debates among Muslim scholars on bid'a or religious innovation. His research languages include Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish, which he continues to learn at Los Angeles. He has not yet studied Urdu formally, but he conducted research in Urdu for his senior undergraduate thesis at UCLA on madrasa reform under the British Raj, as well as for subsequent graduate projects. 

Lusia Zaitseva

Ph.D. Candidate, Comparative Literature, Harvard University

Lusia Zaitseva received her BA in French literature and creative writing at Columbia University in 2010 and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in comparative literature at Harvard University, where she is writing a dissertation on childishness and vulnerability in Soviet-era poetry and prose. Her research interests include poetry, the short story, gender, trauma, and memory studies. She has studied Urdu since 2011 and has participated in the AIIS-Lucknow summer program twice. She is interested in the literary ties and cross-influences between Pakistan and the former Soviet Union.



Nicole Hemenway

B.A. in South Asian Languages and Literatures, University of California at Berkeley

Nicole graduated from U.C. Berkeley in May 2015 with a bachelor's in South Asian Languages and Literatures and a minor in History. Upon graduation, her collegiate honors thesis on the history of Hindu-Muslim relations in central India, entitled “A Confluence of Religions: Golconda, 1512-1713,” received awards both from the South and Southeast Asia Studies department and from U.C. Berkeley's Institute of International Studies. Since then, Nicole has spent a year in Lucknow, India studying Urdu and volunteering with a women's legal advocacy organization, followed by a summer in D.C. conducting research with the National Immigration Forum on skills and workforce development policies as they affect the immigrant community.

Tavleen Kaur

Ph.D. Candidate, Visual Studies, University of California, Irvine

Tavleen Kaur is a third year PhD student in Visual Studies at U.C. Irvine. She is researching the role of architectural design and urban planning in the built environment of the South Asian American diaspora. In particular she is looking at how the formation of faith-based architectural identity in the public sphere is a process that happens in tandem with that of the racialization and marginalization of religio-ethnic communities. She is working at the intersections of design, planning, race, and ethnicity. Tavleen has previously trained in Urdu via summer and academic year AIIS fellowships at the University of Washington, Seattle and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Madiha Haque

MA Candidate, Asian Studies, University of Texas at Austin 

Madiha completed her Master's in Asian Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, and her MA thesis was on Urdu drama serials in Pakistan. She is interested in Urdu poetry, the transnational popularity of Pakistani media, and South Asian music. She has taken a total of five years of Urdu coursework at a combination of UT Austin, where she also got her undergraduate degree, and AIIS.

Alexis Saba

Ph.D. Candidate, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Indiana University

Alexis Saba is a Ph.D. candidate in Education Policy Studies within Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at Indiana University's School of Education. In 2010 she received her M.S. in International and Comparative Education from Indiana University and in 2005 she received her B.A. from Hanover College in Cultural Anthropology. Her research interests include the right to education in Pakistan and the relationships between development sector workers and intended beneficiaries within education programs targeted towards marginal populations including out of school children and their families. She has studied Urdu and Hindi at Indiana University for two years and Hindi at Northwestern University for one year. Her dissertation research will rely on qualitative fieldwork in Urdu with development workers and community members in Lahore. 

James Batchelder

MA Candidate, Conflict Resolution, Georgetown University

James is a master’s student in Conflict Resolution at Georgetown University, focused specifically on conflict in South Asia. He began learning Hindi in high school and discovered an interest in Urdu as an undergraduate at Boston University. He has since spent two academic years studying Urdu in Lucknow, most recently on a Boren Fellowship.

Matthew Marcus

BA in Political Science, City University of New York (CUNY), Hunter College.

Matthew recently graduated from City University of New York, Hunter College, with a B.A. in Political Science.  At Hunter, he focused primarily on International Relations and Global Governance. For the past year, he has committed himself to studying Urdu, consisting of two terms at AIIS—Lucknow and one term with the South Asian Summer Language Institute at University of Wisconsin, Madison. His research interests are in Peace and Conflict Studies and the nuanced intersections of politics, religion, and class in South Asia. Specifically, Matthew enjoys examining the myriad of ways in which South Asians understand and respond to conflict and social change—whether through political violence, direct action, or even art. 

Awardees for 2015  

Anum Chaudhry

MA Candidate
Public Health, University of Michigan

I received my Bachelor's of Science in Psychology from University of Michigan. I am currently pursuing my Masters of Public health in Health Behavior and Health Education with focus on global health at University of Michigan. My focus area of study is South Asia. My research focuses on the use of humanities to promote health and wellbeing. I am interested in the use of arts as way of self expression and a form of healing in post traumatic stress disorder patients. I also focus on the role of religion and how it impacts one's health and outlook on life. I have taken 2 years of Urdu with professor Syed Ali and was fascinated by the power words can hold in Urdu poetry; and I hope to incorporate that in my line of research.

Sneha Desai

Ph.D. Candidate
English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Sneha is a graduate student at the Columbia University, Dept. of English & Comparative Literature and Institute for Comparative Literature & Society (ICLS).

"My path towards Urdu flowed from an interest in poetry and translation. Having heard Urdu poetry was great, I took the best option available to a San Franscico resident: UC Berkeley's summer Intensive Course in Beginning Hindi-Urdu while in a career transition that afforded flex-time. Unbelievably, some years later, I was teaching that same course, having earned an MA in South & Southeast Asian Studies from UC Berkeley. During the intervening time, I had taken advanced Urdu under Dr. Aftab Ahmad concurrently with advanced Hindi literature seminars, as well as attending the AIIS Language Program in Lucknow. (Sadly, I matriculated years before the BULPIP Program resumed.) For the next several years, I taught Hindi as a lecturer at Stanford University during the academic year, and occasionally, in the UC Berkeley summer program, as well. In 2011 I embarked on a Fulbright IIE Fellowship in New Delhi and during the course of a year, I undertook intensive advanced Urdu studies with Dr. Irshad Ahmad, focusing on 20th century Urdu literature and Ghalib. Since joining Columbia University as a PhD student, I have also enjoyed the opportunity to study with Professor Francis Pritchett in her penultimate class on Ghalib."

Sarah Fasano 

MA Candidate
Conflict Resolution Program
Georgetown University

Sarah Fasano is a Master's Candidate in the Conflict Resolution Program at Georgetown University. She is specializing in South Asian Studies and Radicalization processes. In the future, she hopes to work specifically with conflict between Pakistan and India. She first began studying Urdu on her own with the Rosetta Stone Program, and spent seven months in India studying with AIIS in Lucknow.

Natalia Di Pietrantonio

PhD candidate
Art History
Cornell University

Natalia is a PhD candidate in the History of Art department at Cornell University. In 2011, she received her M.A. from Columbia University in South Asian Studies. Research interests include Islamic art, cross-cultural dimensions of Southeast and South Asian Art, architectural marginalia, Indo-Persianate history, Urdu poetry and literature, erotica, gender & sexuality studies. Her doctoral dissertation, "Erotic Visions: Poetry, Literature, and Book Arts from Avadh, 1754-1857," focuses on erotic miniatures such as representations of female nudes and amorous couples produced in and around the Indo-Islamic court of Avadh, India. In her research, she also looks at Avadhi manuscripts as a whole, emphasizing the relationship between Persian and Urdu poetics and visuals. She has previously studied Urdu at UC-Davis, Cornell University, SASLI, and Lucknow-AIIS.

Laura Randall

MA Candidate
International Studies
University of Washington

Laura holds a MA in International Studies, in the Department of Comparative Religion, from the University of Washington, as well as a graduate certificate in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. Her research interests focus on contemporary South Asian women's activisms and movements as they relate to digital spaces, temporality, and collective memory. She is particularly interested in how women use religion in political action. She began studying Urdu at UW in 2011 and since then has participated in both the summer intensive and year-long AIIS Urdu programs in Lucknow, India. She received her BA in Religious Studies from Elon University.

David W. Weil

Ph.D. Candidate
Near Eastern Studies

David is a Doctoral Candidate in the Princeton University Department of Near Eastern Studies. He is returning to BULPIP to perfect his Urdu and continue dissertation research. His major research topics center on the comparative history of nationalism, conceptions of imperial and national citizenship, political transition and state consolidation, and military ideology in Turkey and Pakistan. His research languages are Modern and Ottoman Turkish, and Urdu, which he has studied in Washington, D.C., Princeton, and Lucknow before coming to Lahore.

Awardees for 2014  

Madihah F. Akhter

Ph.D. Candidate
History, Stanford

Madihah is a first year PhD candidate in the history department at Stanford University. She received a Bachelor's degree in history from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master's degree in history from Tufts University. Madihah's research interests include modern South Asian history, Islam in colonial India, intellectual history, gender, postcolonial theory and historiography. Madihah conducted research in Urdu for her Master's thesis and looks forward to improving her skills to read Urdu autobiographies, etiquette manuals and travelogues.

Elizabeth A. Bolton

Ph.D. Media and Cultural Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Elizabeth has completed her Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in Media and Cultural Studies from the Department of Radio-TV-Film. Her research interests include: digital media and social justice movements, global news television and political engagement, urban politics in the Global South, postcolonial networks of political satire, Pakistan studies, and Urdu language histories and cultures. Elizabeth has been a student of the Urdu language for 9 years, having completed seven years of formal study of Urdu under Dr. Syed Akbar Hyder and Shahnaz Hassan at the University of Texas at Austin. Beginning in 2015, Elizabeth extended her language work to include Punjabi, especially in relation to humor, satirical discourse, and Pakistan’s politics. Elizabeth continues to work closely with the Urdu language and in Pakistan studies. Her book project uncovers, and studies the implications of, programming shifts in Pakistan’s news television that are rewriting the rules of political engagement toward tangible localized results and legitimizing personal experience and individual knowledge as valid categories of discussion in Pakistan’s public sphere. Elizabeth is currently teaching in the Department of English and Communications at Redlands Community College. Beginning Fall 2018, she will join the University of California, Berkeley as a Lecturer in the Media Studies Program.


Aparna Kumar

Ph.D. Candidate
Art History, UCLA

Aparna is a fourth year PhD student in the Department of Art History at UCLA, studying modern and contemporary South Asian art. Her dissertation project explores the impact of Partition on the development of visual culture in India and Pakistan in the twentieth century to which Urdu has been a vital component. She began studying Urdu in 2008 while an undergraduate student at Brown University. Her interest in the Urdu language was reinvigorated in her second year of graduate school when writing her Master’s thesis on the contemporary artist, Zarina Hashmi who regularly employs Urdu in the body of her works. For the past two summers, she was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship by the US Department of State to study Urdu in Lucknow, India where she completed two research projects in Urdu on varying subjects including contemporary Indian cinema and contemporary Indian art.

Saleha Parvaiz

MA Candidate
Asian Studies, UT Austin

Saleha Parvaiz is a MA student in the Department of Asian Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research centers on popular Sufism in South Asia and the impact of globalization on spiritual expression. Specifically, she seeks to situate the genre of qawwali within broader South Asian devotional discourses by examining it as a performative ritual and a dialogic text that draws tropes and idioms from Arabo-Persian and Bhakti literary traditions. In doing so, she will explore the manners in which particular registers of Urdu used to convey such tropes and idioms become laced with gender identities. By looking at how local aesthetics negotiate with the process of globalization, she aims to add depth to the discourse of qawwali’s place and function in literature, religion, and society. Saleha has studied Urdu for a year with Dr. Syed Akbar Hyder at UT Austin while taking classes on qawwali aesthetics and the philosophy and poetry of Muhammad Iqbal.

Kelsey J. Utne

MA Candidate
International Studies
Univ. of Washington

Kelsey Utne is a graduate student at the University of Washington’s International Studies department focusing on South Asia Studies program in Seattle, WA. Her research interests include public history and memory in diaspora communities, the memorialization of gender violence, and religious identity. Previously she studied Hindi in Jaipur, India through the Critical Language Scholarship, and is presently studying both Hindi and Urdu at University of Washington.

David W. Weil

Ph.D. Candidate
Near Eastern Studies,  Princeton

David is enrolled at Princeton University in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. His research interest is in the comparative history of nationalism, political transformation, and military ideology in twentieth-century Turkey and Pakistan. He is learning Urdu as well as modern and Ottoman Turkish in order to pursue this study from the late 19th century to the current day. Having studied elementary Persian, he was able to begin his formal studies in Urdu last year, with summer language study at the AIIS in Lucknow following a year of course room instruction at Princeton.