New Jersey Leadership Program Announces 2017 Fellows

JERSEY CITY, NJ – The New Jersey Leadership Program officially announced its 2017 NJLP Fellows, who will be taking part in the NJLP Summer Fellowship Program. 

 

Eight fellows of South Asian descent were chosen from a competitive applicant pool throughout New Jersey. The fellows ranged from high school students to those entering their first year of college at Yale University and the University of Chicago. 

 

Amit Jani

“We are excited to enter our second year of our NJLP Fellowship Program and have a stellar class of young fellows who are excited to learn, and participate in our local, state and federal levels of government, politics and leadership training,” said NJLP President Amit Jani. 

 

The fellows will be placed in various federal, state and local elected offices throughout the state, including those of Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr, Governor Chris Christie, State Senators Linda Greenstein and Anthony Bucco, Assemblyman Raj Mukherj and Robert Karabinchak. 

 

In addition to the full-time, six-week summer internship, fellows also take part in a weekly speakership series to hear from elected officials, senior government staffers, business executives and nonprofit leaders to learn about government, politics, campaigning, advocacy and more. The fellows will also be taking a field trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with senior congressional staffers, visit Capitol Hill, and will be taking part in a West Wing tour at the White House. As part of their NJLP Summer Fellowship, fellows will also be completing a community service project to better improve their local communities.

 

“Through the NJLP Summer Fellowship, we hope to expose our youth fellows to government and politics, as well as instill leadership skills that they can use in a public sector career or whichever path they pursue,” said NJLP Director of Programming Vinay Limbachia. “We spent a lot of time cultivating this year’s class of fellows and see much potential in their young careers and for their future ahead.”

Here is the list of fellows and their bios and hometowns as provided by the New Jersey Leadership Program:

Deblina Mukherjee


Hometown: Scotch Plains

Placement: Office of Community Relations, Governor Chris Christie

Deblina Mukherjee will be entering her Freshman Year of College at the University of Chicago. She most recently attended Scotch Plains – Fanwood High School, in which she was active in the Model U.N., Youth and Government, Financial Literacy Through Investing, Future Business Leaders of America, as well as the track team. She held leadership positions as Chair of the Legal Committee within the Model U.N., Commissioner of Transportation for Youth and Government, Founding Member and Fed Challenge Leader for Financial Literacy Through Investing, and President of the Future Business Leaders of America. She currently resides in her hometown of Scotch Plains.

She is also interested in comedy, classical guitar and all manners of exercise. Deblina decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow because she wants to promote South Asian unity and get a first-hand feel for the issues that have kept people like her out of politics.


Pallavi Pathak


Hometown: Princeton

Placement: Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.

Pallavi Pathak currently attends South Brunswick High School and will be entering her fourth year of high school. She is active in her school’s Junior State of America club and Asian Cultural club. She holds leaderships position within the Girl Scout’s Senior Ambassador Planning Board. She currently resides in her hometown of South Brunswick.

Her career aspirations include studying business and political science in college and eventually running for public office. She is also interested in history, dance, and music. Pallavi decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow as a way to contribute to society and learn more about a potential career options.


Varun Seetamraju


Hometown: Bridgewater

Placement: Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak

Varun Seetamraju currently attends The Pingry School and will be entering his third year of high school. He is active in the High School Democrats of New Jersey, the Future Business Leaders of America club, Pingry Quiz-bowl, and Taekwondo. He holds leadership positions in the Pingry chapter of the Ashita-Tomorrow non-profit origination, and is the Co-chairman and Co-founder of the Somerset County High School Democrats Chapter. He currently resides in his hometown of Bridgewater, NJ.

His career aspirations include being actively involved in the political arena or in the field of economics. He is also interested in Taekwondo, in which he currently holds a 3rd Degree Black Belt, as well as the Indian Carnatic Violin. Varun decided to apply to be part of the New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow because he wanted to be actively involved in government and politics and to make a difference in the South Asian community.


Shubham Saharan


Hometown: West Windsor

Placement: Senator Linda Greenstein

Shubham Saharan currently attends West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North and will be entering her fourth year of high school. She is active in her school newspaper, high school feminist club, and Model United Nations team, and holds leadership positions as the Editor-in-Chief of her high school newspaper. She currently resides in her hometown of West Windsor.

Her career aspirations include studying political science in college and eventually pursuing a career in law. She is also interested in international relations, economics, english, and coding. Shubham decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow because of her passion for politics and government, as well as to promote South Asian American involvement in government. She is eager to make an impact on her community while deepening her knowledge on the functioning of government on various levels.


Aadi Kulkarni


Hometown: Far Hills

Placement: Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak

Aadi Kulkarni currently attends The Hotchkiss School and will be entering his 4 year of high school. He is active and holds leadership positions in student government, his school’s political review, UNICEF Club, and Habitat for Humanity. He currently resides in his hometown of Far Hills.

His career aspirations include politics, international affairs, economics or law. He is also interested in investment, debate and running. Aadi decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow because he hoped to continue to build upon his experiences working in politics on a more formal level, as well as gain guidance in pursuing his interests long term.


Abeera Saeed


Hometown: Jersey City

Placement: Assemblyman Raj Mukherji

Abeera Saeed will be entering her Freshman Year of College at Yale University. She most recently attended McNair Academic High School, in which she was active in Key Club, Muslim Student Association, Mock Trial, Model United Nations, Spanish Language Club, and Peer Leadership. She held leadership positions in the Key Club, Muslim Student Association, Mock Trial and Spanish Language Club. She currently resides in her hometown of Jersey City.

Her career aspirations include either becoming a psychiatrist or involving herself in public policy. She is also interested in ice skating, going to concerts, playing soccer, and exploring. Abeera decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow because she wanted to get involved in her community and see the behind the scenes of politics all while making a difference.


Maya Mukadam


Hometown: Basking Ridge

Placement: Senator Anthony Bucco

Maya Mukadam currently attends Ridge High School and will be entering her Third Year of high school. She is active on her school’s mock trial team, participates on her school swim team and is a flautist in the New Jersey Youth Symphony. She holds a leadership position on the Mock Trial Team, as well as the Doctors Without Borders Chapter at her high school. She currently resides in her hometown of Basking Ridge.

Maya’s career aspirations include studying political science and law in college, as she hopes to pursue a career as an environmental or corporate lawyer. She is also interested in neurology, history, music, and is a passionate volunteer at local and national animal shelters. Maya decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow because she is eager to explore the power of law in different government bodies, and to experience the various ways in which local and state governments impact and benefit society.


Anika Madhusudhan


Hometown: West Windsor

Placement: Senator Linda Greenstein

Anika Madhusudhan currently attends West Windsor Plainsboro High School North and will be entering her third year of high school. She is active in her school’s Model Congress Club. She is a part of the Executive Board of astudent-run magazine, and recently traveled to Belize as a volunteer to teach young children. She currently resides in her hometown of West Windsor

Her career aspirations include working in the area of economics or data analysis. She is also interested in writing, singing, reading various books of different genres, and sketching. Anika decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow because she wanted to gain knowledge about the political world. She is very interested in the process of policy making, and wants to learn the key elements of good leadership.

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