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Ellen Jacobs
(ASCI Project)

Ellen Jacobs graduated from the University of Chicago in 2016 with a B.A. in International Studies and minor in Human Rights. Prior to joining the IIC, Ellen was a fellow in the Governor of Illinois’ Office of Constituent Affairs, working to ensure constituents’ concerns were documented and helping Illinoisans access state programs and aid amid the state’s crumbling financial situation. Previously, she worked in the State Department’s Office of Refugee Admissions, assisting in federal grant review and educating the public on refugee and migration policy in order to safeguard the program’s success in local communities. Additionally, she worked in Heartland Alliance’s Resettlement and Placement department, helping refugees throughout their first 90 days in the US. Ellen is excited to learn more about and engage with the Indian government, NGOs, and other development stakeholders. She looks forward to collaborating with her colleagues in IIC to create sustainable solutions. 


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Karthick Palamani
(ASCI Project)

Karthick Palamani, who hails from Guntur, over the years has shouldered several responsibilities at personal and professional levels which have instilled a holistic learning experience nurturing his leadership, communication and management skills that helped him transform the way he is. Like many, he is an Indian engineering graduate, a Telugu movie buff and a cricket lover who has found his interest in creating social impact while he was pursuing Young India Fellowship in Liberal Studies. Later working with a Micro Finance Organization and a constituency development advisory for Members of Indian Parliament have provided him a worldview on a broad set of core disciplines as well as on the complex global challenges we face today. Now, at IIC fellowship he is looking forward to an excellent exposure to solving a real-world problem, and an inspiration not only to learn life skills but also to challenge his never-ending passion for cognizance.


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Keshav Ramaswami
(ASCI Project)

Keshav Ramaswami is a graduate of the Young India Fellowship, most of which he spent honing an interest in the sociology of cities and travelling rural India as a student journalist. During his engineering days, pursuing an interest in finance, he interned at an investment bank and completed Level One of the CFA program. More recently, he has interned at McKinsey’s Public & Social Sector practice and achieved top honours in HBx CORE, a business fundamentals program hosted by Harvard Business School. He seeks to use learnings from his experiences to try to solve significant social challenges —  and views the IIC as a conduit between evidence-based practices and communities that stand to benefit the most. In the coming year, he hopes to grow with on-ground challenges and to play a part in the development story. 


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Sai Vikas
(ASCI Project)

Hailing from Palakonda, a small town in Andhra Pradesh, Vikas pursued his Bachelors in Biotechnology from NIT Warangal. Driven by his insatiable desire to explore and discover, he embarked on a one year multi-disciplinary journey; Ashoka University’s Young India Fellowship, where he was exposed to a host of ideas from renowned thought leaders and diverse peer group. Post the fellowship, he worked as Manager for Undergraduate admissions at Ashoka University; a privately funded philanthropic initiative. His propensity to come out of the ivory towers of academia, propelled him to apply to IIC where he aspires to hold his ear to the ground to understand the implementation of policies and related challenges. Vikas is interested in political economy, sustainable development practices, art and culture.     


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Sanjana Mohanty
(ASCI Project)

Sanjana Mohanty graduated from National Law University, Delhi in 2014. Thereafter she worked as a law clerk to Justice J. Chelameswar, Supreme Court of India, working on matters including public interest litigations and constitutional challenges to Government policy decisions. She subsequently joined the litigation team of Zeus Law in New Delhi, where she was involved in a wide range of cases before various Courts and Tribunals. She encountered the challenging intricacies of the social, legal and political setup of India, first in law school, volunteering for the UNDP-GoI Access to Justice Project and othercommunity outreach programmes, and later while practicing law. Through IIC she hopes to acquire skills that will enable her to contribute in innovative and effective ways towards bridging the unpalatable distances between the efforts of a welfare state on paper and their translation into reality.  In her free time, she likes to sing, dance and bake tirelessly.   


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Jesse Orr, Senior Project Associate
(Maharasthra Pharma Park Project)

Jesse Orr graduated in 2015 from the University of Chicago with B.A. in South Asian Languages and Civilizations, studying Hindi for four years and focusing on modern Indian politics and policy. After graduation, he worked at the Atlantic Council, a Washington D.C. think-tank, before starting as a Project Associate with the International Innovation Corps in July 2016.  Jesse spent his first year with the IIC working in Hyderabad and Vijayawada on Project S3Andhra, a multi-stakeholder consortium consisting of the Administrative Staff College of India, Ernst and Young, and the IIC, supporting the Government of Andhra Pradesh’s efforts to improve sanitation statewide.  On Project S3Andhra, Jesse primarily worked on developing policies on septage and wastewater management and supporting capacity-building efforts to promote their implementation statewide.  Jesse is excited to be spending another year with the IIC, and is particularly interested in looking at policy from a standpoint of enabling effective last-mile implementation. 


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Cory Ventres-Pake
(Maharasthra Water De-Silting Project)

A high school exchange year in India catalyzed both Cory’s interest in the subcontinent and her desire to pursue a career in development. She now holds a Master in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as a B.A. in Economics from Mount Holyoke College. With a strong interest in innovation in development, Cory focused her master’s thesis research on the anthropology of technology transfer across regions, conducting field research on refugee camp design and its influence on camp inhabitants. An interest in human-centered design led her to pursue further studies in Design Thinking, exploring how such methods can improve design and innovation in development and humanitarian aid. Cory’s professional background is in education and youth empowerment in development. She has also worked with various organizations in refugee response, exploring the dynamics of the field in Lebanon, Jordan and Germany. 


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Mansi Kapoor, Project Lead
(Maharasthra Water De-Silting Project)

Mansi joined IIC in 2016 and brings 4 years of experience in business development, government collaborations and managing community engagement programs. Last year, she worked with the Government of Telangana to develop solutions for participatory irrigation management and improving agricultural market data dissemination to farmers. Prior to joining IIC, she worked at Pratham Education Foundation, where she supported the education interventions in rural Bihar and Jharkhand. She has hands on experience in designing, implementing and scaling up social development programs and played a key role in Pratham's partnership with the Government of Jharkhand to improve learning outcomes in primary schooling. Exposure to rural and urban parts of India has encouraged her to continue working in the development sector. Through IIC, Mansi looks forward to learning about various innovations taking place in the development sector and working with like-minded individuals. Mansi holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai.


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Pooja Arvind Chavan
(Maharasthra Water De-Silting Project)

Pooja Arvind Chavan has pursued M.A. Social Work with specialization in Community Organization and Development Practices from Tata Institute of Social Sciences in the year 2017. Her graduate thesis analyzes the impact of new Skill development policy on youth in India. She believes in the potential of the governance systems to bring about change. She has also pursued undergraduate degree in Social Work from College of Social Work- Nirmala Niketan, University of Mumbai in the year 2015. In course of five years of working in diverse field settings she has keenly worked with education sector, Maharashtra prison department, BMC contract labour union and with the tribes for a couple of years in remote areas of Maharashtra on the issues related to the implementation of Forest Rights. She looks forward to put her efforts to understand linkages between policy and practice and help governance systems to be responsive, accountable and efficient.


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Sai Siddharth Janapareddy
(Maharasthra Water De-Silting Project)

Sai Siddharth Janapareddy has a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from R.V. College of Engineering, and a Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University. Prior to his Masters, he worked as a business development executive at a start up that optimizes pharmaceutical research on humans. During his Masters, he interned at NASSCOM on a project to identify administrative gaps in the Indian Government’s Smart City Mission. He also led a Capstone Project for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, where his team developed policies to raise $900 million in private investment for NYC’s Green Infrastructure Program. After his Masters, he worked at Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, where he documented the history of Manhattan’s ‘Villages’ and represented the East Village community at NYC’s Board of Standards and Appeals against NYC’s real estate lobby. Siddharth is keen to use his skills to improve the quality of life in Indian Cities.  


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Dhruv Gupta, Project Lead
(Rajasthan Education Project)

Dhruv Gupta aims to eliminate the education inequity by working on large-scale initiatives and programs using grassroots insights. Inspired by a teaching internship while in Turkey, he returned back to join the Teach for India fellowship to pursue his passion. Based in a government school in an urban slum, he taught a 7th grade classroom of 80 students for two years where he experienced on-the-ground realities of Indian schools and saw the challenges faced by students and teachers every day. Leveraging this experience, Dhruv wanted to expand his impact through working with the government and decided to join the IIC. As a Project Associate, he worked on governance reforms, community engagement, and addressing the infrastructure gap in schools across Rajasthan. Dhruv will continue as a Project Lead with the Rajasthan government, deepening his engagement in previous projects and advancing the scope of his work through new efforts aimed at school transformation. 


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Kyle Bardman
(Rajasthan Education Project)

Originally from California, Kyle Bardman graduated from the University of Chicago in 2017 with a B.A. in History and Economics. He wrote his senior thesis on the role of the United Nations in decolonization, focusing on India's 1961 annexation of Goa as a case study. While at the university, Kyle worked for the University Community Service Center and Quotient Technology, where he was a marketing analyst. Kyle also spent time in China as a Wanxiang Ambassador Fellow and studied abroad in Pune as an exchange student. He is excited to return to India and learn about interdisciplinary approaches to development and public policy. Outside of work, Kyle is an avid runner, hiker, and reader who loves learning new languages. 


Tushar Vohra
(Rajasthan Education Project)

Tushar graduated with a B.Com (Honors) degree from Delhi University and started his career at Teach For India, where he taught 40 children in an under resourced government school. Thereafter, he continued at TFI as a Program Manager, building the leadership and instructional capacity of teachers to tackle complex challenges and transform schools. Having worked extensively with on-ground stakeholders, Tushar noticed how well intentioned policies often fail to understand the real needs of the intended beneficiaries. This inspired him to start "Testify", an organisation that formulates transformation roadmaps for schools by prioritising contexts. At IIC, Tushar wishes to effectively engage with governments to deliver sustained support to formulate and implement large scale projects. This will help him realise his objective of shaping the futures of millions of children, ensuring that their demography does not dictate their destiny. In addition to this, Tushar is a performing arts enthusiast and a trained Jazz dancer.


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Andrea Kóbor
(Rural Electrification Corporation Project)

Andrea Kóbor is a fresh graduate of Public Policy masters at the Budapest-based Central European University. Earlier, after studying journalism, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a Master’s degree in International Economics. In 2016 she was managing an English and IT skills teaching center of a regional NGO and organized community development events in cooperation with local organizations in Kuching, Malaysian Borneo. Earlier, for four years, she was working as a consultant and project manager in a Budapest-based NGO which provides communications and capacity-building services to NGOs. She was planning and implementing campaigns and training for various organizations, including big internationals (Transparency International, SOS Children’s Village) and smaller, local NGOs. Andrea always seeks for innovative solutions, and she believes that best solutions are results of various ideas, therefore she always encourages teamwork. This and her passion for finding solutions that make people's lives better drew her to IIC.   


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Ashok Ashiya
(Rural Electrification Corporation Project)

Ashok Ashiya, a B.Com (Honours) graduate from Christ University and CFA Level II passed candidate is keen on making an impact in financial inclusion and public finance; his college thesis analysed disinvestment in Indian State Owned Enterprises and compared it with other economies. Also during college, he applied his financial knowledge by participating in many national level business competitions and has won many accolades which include the Deloitte Business Challenge and the SRCC Business Conclave. He also brings his experience of working on a diverse range of projects at Goldman Sachs which included enhancing vendor diversity, analysing corporate insurance and managing various global vendor management initiatives; this has developed his sharp analytical and project management skills. He is looking forward to working in the creative & diverse environment at IIC, actualizing his aspiration to play an active role in shaping India’s future.


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Pavel Ramirez, Project Lead
(Rural Electrification Corporation Project)

Pavel Ramirez is a public policy analyst with more than 5 years of experience. During his time at IIC, Pavel assisted the Government of Telangana in the design and implementation of a participatory irrigation management scheme for their flagship project Mission Kakatiya, a project to enhance agricultural development and raise incomes for small and marginal farmers, amounting to 15 million beneficiaries. Prior to his current position at IIC, Pavel worked for the City of Chicago's Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) on the design and implementation of an Internet of Things initiative to collect real-time data about city environment and activity. Before that, he worked as a Senior Researcher at the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO), a non-partisan think-tank in Mexico City where he specialized in technology policy and public procurement. Pavel holds a BA in Economics and a Master’s in Public Policy, both from the University of Chicago. 


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Rahul Chawla
(Rural Electrification Corporation Project)

Rahul Chawla, a manufacturing engineer by background has an undergraduate degree from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT) and a masters degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In his most recent position, he worked as an Automotive Consultant for Roland Berger in Chicago. He has had extensive experience in long team-based projects involving resource and cost constraints including making formula-based cars from scratch in his undergraduate degree. He has worked on strategic and operational initiatives for a diverse set of companies ranging from both global OEMs to niche startups. Using the transferable skills he has gained in his academic and professional career, Rahul hopes to explore new avenues which allow him to contribute to initiatives with substance. His current interest lies in the confluence of policy, innovative business models and indigenous application. His primary aim is to effectively add value in solving the most pressing problems of the world from first principle. 


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Riya Singh
(Rural Electrification Corporation Project)

Riya Singh, a San Francisco Bay Area native, received her BA in Cognitive Science from University of California, Berkeley with a minor in Human Rights. She completed an honors thesis on the social cognitive implications of safe spaces and a minor thesis on approaches to the right to quality education, both focused on northern Nigeria’s adolescent girls. During her time at the University, she engaged in mixed methods research on topics including adolescent sexual health judgments, environmental exposures among children in farmworker communities, and child marriage in rural Nigeria and Niger. Most recently, she worked as a Research Fellow at the Public Health Institute’s Rise Up program, where she played a key role in adapting advocacy curriculum and supporting the efforts of sexual and reproductive health leaders from around the world. Through the IIC, she is eager to collaborate with like-minded, diversely-skilled individuals to develop innovative solutions to critical issues.


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Catherine Cove, Senior Project Associate
(SAST Project)

Catherine Cove graduated from the University of Chicago in 2016 with a B.A. in Biological Sciences. She has spent the past year working with the IIC and the Administrative Staff College of India on a multifaceted sanitation improvement project in Andhra Pradesh. She has assisted in building local capacity, improving infrastructure, monitoring outcomes, and facilitating knowledge dissemination. Her previous experience includes work with the University of Chicago Medical Center’s South Side Health and Vitality Studies program to improve access to healthcare resources in underserved communities in Chicago. In addition, she has worked in private sector healthcare and in social impact filmmaking, which furthered her interested in the role that media can play in knowledge dissemination and behavior change. These experiences further cultivated her interest in public health and development, while increasing her awareness of the role that a wide variety of organizations can play in promoting social impact.  


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Pranay Patil, Senior Project Associate
(SAST Project)

Pranay is returning to the IIC-SAST team for another year as a Senior Project Associate, where he intends to continue to make sustainable interventions to the existing scheme of things. Hailing from the city of Nagpur, Pranay majored in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, and subsequently worked at Flipkart for about two years. He successfully led a number of initiatives in the domain of operations development and customer experience at Flipkart, and played his part in making e-commerce happen in India. He then attained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Liberal Studies from the Young India Fellowship Programme at Ashoka University. Throughout his college and corporate journey, Pranay has tried to understand and work towards social challenges in India via various channels, like the Ministry of Railways, Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC), Jagriti Yatra and The Education Alliance. In his spare time, Pranay enjoys hiking, trekking and photography. 


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Varun Jhaveri, Project Lead
(SAST Project)

Varun hails from an Engineering and a Policy background and has been appointed as the Chair for Youth Committee of UNESCO led GAMAG division. In his previous year with IIC, he worked with NITI Aayog, Government of India on developing the Digital Transformation index and National Data and Analytics Portal. Prior to IIC, he has worked with Teach for India in the capacity of a Leadership Fellow for fostering academic impact and empowering communities. Also, he has led the youth element for the HeforShe campaign, a UN Women Initiative for advocating gender equality. He has delivered TEDx talks on the topics of “Youth Leadership” and “Increasing Youth Engagement and Participation”. Varun is extremely excited for his new role of Project Lead and wishes to expand his learning by navigating India’s development matrix and contributing to the vast scope of work along with his team.  


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Ann-Kathrin Beck
(Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) Project)

Ann-Kathrin Beck is a soon-to-be graduate of the Erasmus Mundus Masters Program in Public Policy, jointly taught and awarded by the School of Public Policy, Central European University, Budapest and the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals. Throughout her studies she focussed on the analysis of development and environmental policies – and the interdependencies of these two fields. Besides her coursework she engaged in a student-run management consultancy and organized projects for refugees and migrants in Hungary and her native Germany. Always eager to make use of her skills in practice, Ann-Kathrin interned for the African Cashew Initiative with the German Agency for Development Cooperation (GIZ) in Accra/Ghana, Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in Jakarta/Indonesia and the German Embassy in Astana/Kazakhstan. In her projects, she worked with public, private and civil society stakeholders to empower local actors, foster ownership, and ensure sustainability – an approach that she is looking forward to applying with the IIC.


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Courtney Tran
(Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) Project)

Courtney studied Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. On campus she pursued twin interests in research and public service by assisting research projects on a variety of human rights and social justice topics, from income inequality to violence between police and civilians; and by interning with human rights and humanitarian organizations, including the International Rescue Committee, the Universal Rights Group, and Survival International. After graduating in 2016 with High Distinction, she worked as a John Gardner Fellow at Human Rights Watch in New York where she researched attacks on health facilities in conflict areas across the globe, medical access to opioid analgesics in Venezuela, and HIV-based work and study restrictions in South Korea. A generalist by practice and a creative at heart, Courtney was drawn to the IIC by its interdisciplinary approach and entrepreneurial spirit, and looks forward to contributing to innovative, high-impact solutions to large-scale development challenges. 


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Nitya Nangalia
(Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) Project)

Nitya Nangalia, an Economics graduate from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, aspires to work through the most impactful channel – government policy – to solve fundamentals of life – access to good health, education, livelihood and living spaces. On graduating she joined PwC to consult new age fintech companies solving basic issues of access to payments and credit. Inspired by the power of digital payments and the cause of enabling financial inclusion, she worked with a fintech company to launch a Payments bank for those un-served of the banking system. She comes to IIC with an aim to explore key areas of development, understand policy-making, and explore areas where tech solutions can empower policy to create a world with equal opportunities.


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Shreya Agarwal, Project Lead
(Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) Project)

Shreya Agarwal is a an economics graduate from Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi. Post her graduation, she joined Deutsche Bank, where she was a Junior Coverage Banker for the Bank's African and Middle Eastern corporates for over two years. She also spent over six months volunteering with Sujaya Foundation, an education NGO, where she was working towards skill enhancement of the marginalized youth. In an effort to scale her impact, she joined the IIC last year and spent the year working primarily on two education projects - Systemic Transformation of Education in Himachal Pradesh and scaling impact of social enterprises in the EdTech space. After what was a challenging albeit satisfying year, she now looks forward to leveraging her past experiences so she can continue to create impact inIndia's development landscape.


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Akanksha Mittal
(Social Alpha Project)

Akanksha Mittal graduated from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and worked as a strategy consultant with Accenture for two years. At Accenture, she has worked on large scale implementation and strategic projects in process efficiency for the natural resources industries. Her post graduate research focused on improving the last mile delivery of Financial Inclusion in rural India, suggestions from which were also acknowledged by the Prime Minister’s Office. Her belief in creating value to the society through her work has motivated her to broaden her career aspirations from mainstream consulting to the development sector. She aspires to work at the confluence of development economics and policy making, using her expertise as a consultant to find creative solutions to developmental challenges faced by countries globally and engaging with policy makers in formulating and implementing holistic policies.


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Alex Nye
(Social Alpha Project)

Alex Nye, a recent graduate of the University of Chicago's Committee on International Relations, loves challenging work that helps public and private actors successfully engage in a globalized world. With a background in academic research as well as a management background producing (and competing in) international political simulations, Alex works using quantitative and qualitative methods to create creative solutions to transnational problems. Outside of his academic work, Alex was involved in University of Chicago's three Model United Nations organizations throughout his time at University of Chicago. This involved participating on the travel team, serving on the board of the college conference, and teaching as an executive for the university's high school conference. He loves reading history and social theory.


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Nayantara Nath
(Social Alpha Project)

Nayantara Nath is a public affairs and policy advocacy specialist. During a two-year stint at Edelman, the world’s largest communication marketing firm, she assisted global FMCG, electronics, defense, F&B corporations and not-for-profit organizations to understand, articulate and propagate their position on key policy issues. She collaborated with the Tata Trusts advocacy department to develop strategies in the area of education, health, nutrition, water accessibility and sanitation. She was also part of the team that established India’s stance on climate change at the historic UNFCCC COP21 in Paris, France. In 2017, Nayantara was the youngest awardee to feature on Godrej PRMoment’s list of top communication professionals in India under the age of 30 years. She holds a post-graduate diploma in advertising and public relations from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Miranda House, University of Delhi. 


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Priyank Hirani, Project Lead
(Water to Cloud Project)

Priyank received his MS in Integrated Circuit Design from Imperial College London in 2013. After graduation, he worked for Mullard Space Science Lab in UK before returning to India in 2015 to join the Young India Fellowship (YIF). YIF enhanced his understanding of contemporary India, its heritage, its problems and its international relations. He joined the S3 Andhra Project as an IIC project associate last year working with colleagues from Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) and Ernst & Young (E&Y). He supported grassroots level implementation of infrastructure improvement and behaviour change strategies working through the entire Faecal Sludge Management value chain in Kovvur, a 40,000 people town in Andhra Pradesh, with limited knowledge of the vernacular language. This year he is excited to lead a river water quality monitoring project using a novel approach involving cyberphysical sensor networks and cloud-enabled data dissemination capabilities. He hopes to inspire data-driven decision making and effective policy discussions through availability of such real-time data and visualisations. Some of his team's recent work can be accessed at https://thoreau.uchicago.edu