ReportersOur dedicated team of volunteer reporters helps ensure that immigrant voices are preserved and shared:
Hi, I'm Eshaan Mani.Senior Reporter | x 19
Eshaan Mani is a published author and poet from Houston, TX with a passion for being the voice of inspiring people and organizations. In his free time, he enjoys acting in plays, championing literacy for kids, and learning wherever, whenever, and with whatever he can. Eshaan also devotes much of his time to volunteering with nonprofit organizations like SAADA, especially those focused on literacy and education. Eshaan hopes that writing for SAADA helps him meet interesting people, learn about their stories, and celebrate their experiences.
1. Ponni Sivaraman 2. Sudha Krishnan 3. Rahul Diddi 4. Viji Raman 5. Jay Raman 6. Rajan Radhakrishnan 7. Champak Panchal 8. Orpheus John 9. Harish Jajoo 10. Venugopal Menon 11. Rathi Menon 12. Brandon Shamim 13. Aisha Siddiqui 14. Inder Singh Randhawa 15. Zeeshan Vasaya 16. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni 17. Periyanan Vaduganathan 18. Nirmala Garimella 19. Kumar Bashyam
Hi, I'm Isabella Nugent.Senior Reporter | x 16
Isabella is sophomore at Bryn Mawr College who is majoring in international studies with a concentration in global social justice. She first became interested in the First Days Project as a way to better understand her own family history and histories of other American immigrants. The first person she interviewed was her freshman roommate and Isabella enjoyed her experience so much that she wants to record First Days stories of all the important people in her life.
Hi, I'm Sindya N. Bhanoo.Reporter | x 9
Sindya N. Bhanoo writes the Observatory column for The New York Times science section. Her radio stories have aired on PRI's The World and KQED's The California Report. She was previously an environmental reporter for The New York Times, a tech reporter for The Industry Standard and a general assignment and health reporter for The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun. She is also the co-founder of Emerson Street Radio, a neighborhood oral storytelling project. Sindya holds a Master's in journalism from U.C. Berkeley and a B.S. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.
Hi, I'm Vignesh Prakash.Reporter | x 5
Vignesh Prakash is a rising high school sophomore at John P Stevens High School in Edison, New Jersey. He has a strong interest in law, public policy, and immigrant rights, and aspires to build his career in the same. His is also a trained multi instrument drummer and percussionist with a comprehensive background in live and recorded performances. Writing for SAADA helps Vignesh talk to interesting people who came to a new land amidst lot of expectations, aspirations, dreams and challenges and made a stride in the foreign land in their chosen field. He feel sharing their journey will inspire and motivate others.
Hi, I'm Basudhara Sen.Reporter | x 5
Basudhara Sen is an independent researcher of Sociology living in Amherst, MA. She received her PhD in Sociology from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater in 2013, Masters in Sociology from University of Calcutta, India in 2005, and Bachelors in Sociology from Presidency College, University of Calcutta in 2003. Her research focuses on immigration, ethnicity, and identity, emphasizing on South Asian immigrants in the United States.
Hi, I'm Ayshea Khan.Reporter | x 4
Ayshea Khan is currently a MSIS Candidate at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information. She is actively pursuing a career in archives and preservation, focusing on audiovisual preservation, digital archives, and collection accessibility and outreach. She holds a B.S. in Cinema & Photography from Ithaca College and her work as a cinematographer has screened at film festivals nationwide. She currently works with Austin youth as an Austin Film Society Filmmaking Mentor and enjoys volunteering her time with the Texas Archive of the Moving Image and the American Genre Film Archive.
Hi, I'm Indrani Saha.Reporter | x 4
Indrani Saha is a junior and Mellon Mays Fellow at Duke University pursuing a self-designed major in Cognitive Aesthetics. She interned with the South Asian American Digital Archive in Fall of 2012 where she documented the stories of three South Asian American artists in Michigan and curated an exhibit of their works. She also contributed to the First Days Project by sharing her family friends’ initial experiences in the United States. The project has encouraged Indrani to continuously learn about and engage with the histories of those around her.
Hi, I'm Zack Shlachter.Reporter | x 4
Zack Shlachter is an on-again, off-again graduate student and journalist, and full-time idler. His main interests are in South Asian culture and history, the arts, and social justice. Originally from and once again residing in Texas, he has lived, worked and studied in the Middle West, London, and various parts of the motherland.
Hi, I'm Mika Rao Kalapatapu.Reporter | x 3
Mika Rao Kalapatapu is a communications leader with a passion for storytelling, justice and equity. After graduating from The University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communications (with a minor in South Asia Regional Studies), Mika has worked as a change management consultant with Accenture and directed communications and marketing teams at large healthcare systems including Memorial Hermann and K+S Consulting. She is currently the Managing Director for Communications and Public Affairs at Teach For America. She holds a master's degree in communications from Boston University and is an active volunteer and board member with a number of local philanthropic organizations.
Hi, I'm Aneeza Agha.Reporter | x 3
Aneeza Agha is a Project Manager at the University of Pennsylvania. She has mixed methods research experience in the areas of patient engagement, health disparities, hospice care, HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and Veteran’s health care. She is passionate about preserving the South Asian American story as a reminder to the world of the humanity in all of us. In her spare time, she enjoys reading sci fi, riding her electric bike, geocaching, and dancing badly to TikTok videos.
Hi, I'm Harini Kannan.Contributor | x 2
Harini Kannan is a UX Researcher and writer based in New York City. She is fascinated by stories, of people's past, present and future. As a UX Researcher, she looks at the ways people interact in overt and subtle ways with the physical and digital spaces they occupy in order to design sustainable and nuanced experiences. In her free time, Harini balances eating ramen, reading, (attempted) writing, and searching for dogs to pet.
Hi, I'm Gauthami Penakalapati.Contributor | x 2
Gauthami Penakalapati is global health researcher focusing on the intersection between women/girls and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in developing countries. Gauthami received her BS from Georgia Institute of Technology and her Master of Public Health (MPH) from Emory University. She is interested in capturing everyday moments through photography and radio.
Hi, I'm Kamala Gururaja.Contributor | x 1
Kamala Gururaja is an eighth grader and a Girl Scout Cadette. She is passionate about sharing the stories of immigrants, and is working to interview South Asian American immigrants for the First Days project to earn her Girl Scout Silver Award, Project Kahani. Previously, Kamala earned her Girl Scout Bronze Award by co-founding a programming mentorship for girls at her school. In her free time, Kamala plays the flute, is an editor for her middle school newspaper, and participates in Model United Nations conferences, where she has won multiple awards for her writing.
1. Giri G