Graduate of India’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences receives prestigious American fellowship

Richa Joshi, from New Delhi, India, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. Joshi earned a degree from Tata Institute of Social Sciences in India, which is one of 27 premier universities from around the world partnered with Washington University in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

The McDonnell Academy provides an opportunity for talented international graduate and professional students to join the Washington University community.

“Richa is the first Scholar from the Tata Institute for Social Sciences who has joined the McDonnell Academy, and we are delighted to have her,” says McDonnell International Scholars Academy Director James V. Wertsch, PhD, associate vice chancellor for international affairs and the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University.

“She not only brings academic excellence, but is headed toward being a global leader of the future, one of our primary aims in the Academy.”

Joshi, who earned a master’s in social work from Tata Institute in 2005, is pursuing a doctorate in social work from the Brown School at Washington University.

Joshi worked at various NGOs in India for more than four years and began to think about development as a tool to allow access to opportunities and choices that enable the poor to reshape and sustain their own socioeconomic landscape.

She believes that social change is not possible without enabling the collective strength of the poor.

The McDonnell International Scholars Academy is a program for future global leaders to obtain their PhD or master’s degrees. Employing an unusual approach, it brings together top scholars from Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America to pursue world-class education and research while forging a strong network with one another.

Key to this are partnerships Washington University has established with top universities and corporations around the world with an eye to increasing opportunities for joint research and global education.

The McDonnell Academy Scholars are expected to be future global leaders. As such, they are provided not only with a rigorous graduate education, but also with cultural and social activities designed to prepare them as leaders knowledgeable about the United States, other countries and critical international issues.

Academy Ambassador

Once selected for this highly competitive program, each Academy Scholar is matched with a distinguished member of the Washington University faculty who serves as a mentor and also as an Academy “Ambassador” to the university partner from which the Scholar has graduated.

The Academy Ambassador assists the McDonnell Scholar in academic and professional life and travels annually with the Scholar to the partner university to build relationships between the two institutions.

Gautam N. Yadama, PhD, associate professor and director of International Programs at the Brown School at Washington University, is Joshi’s faculty mentor-ambassador.

Yadama’s research has addressed issues related to poverty, the role of nongovernmental organizations in sustainable development, and governance of common pool resources. He has researched issues of community and development in India, Nepal, China and Bhutan.

He also worked in Thailand in 1986 at the Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute (CUSRI).

At CUSRI, he was part of a research team surveying incentives and disincentives faced by rural Thai farmers holding different types of land titles. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Nepal in 2000–01, where he conducted field research to understand factors that explain variations in collective action to supply public goods in resource scarce urban neighborhoods.

His particular interests are in understanding how communities partner with the state to supply and manage public goods for the benefit of the poor and marginalized.

He has consulted with several international agencies and foundations, including the United Nations Development Program, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Bank, Save the Children-UK, and the Open Society Institute.

Yadama earned a doctoral degree from Case Western Reserve University and has been a leader at Washington University in developing collaboration around the globe.

The McDonnell Academy

The McDonnell Academy Scholars receive funding for full tuition and living expenses for the time it takes to get a degree at Washington University. The Academy also provides support for an annual trip back to the Scholar’s alma mater. Many of the Scholars reside in two fully equipped and furnished apartment buildings near campus.

Funding is provided through a sustaining endowment gift from John F. McDonnell, vice chair of WUSTL’s Board of Trustees and retired chairman of the board of McDonnell Douglas Corp.

Additional support comes from 22 multinational corporations, foundations and individual sponsors. Sponsoring corporations also offer internships and on-site educational opportunities for the Academy’s Corporate Fellows.