Sarah Burack is an artist and scholar residing in St. Louis, MO. She graduated with a degree in anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis in 2018 and has since held various professional positions in the education, non-profit, and academic sectors. As a Fulbright researcher, she will collaborate with Social Science Baha on a project titled “Art as Adornment,” focusing on the practice of metalsmithing in Nepal. Her research revolve around knowledge and skill sharing, as well as visions for the future of this world-renowned method of craft.
Sarah operates her own jewelry business, crafting and selling pieces, while also teaching metalsmithing at a non-profit organization. Furthermore, she serves as a research coordinator for a prominent medical school, engaging in projects both in the US and Zambia.
Dylan Rodgers is a graduate of Cornell University, where he specialized in Aquaculture. Currently, he is a Fulbright researcher collaborating with the Nepal Agricultural Research Council Fisheries Research Station.
Dylan’s primary focus is on a project centered around a fisheries research center located near Pokhara. The objective of this project is to develop a novel aquaculture technology that promotes sustainable fish farming, particularly in urbanized areas.
By combining his expertise in aquaculture with the resources and support from the research center, Dylan aims to contribute to the development of innovative and environmentally friendly methods for fish cultivation. The ultimate goal is to enhance food security and economic opportunities for communities in rapidly urbanizing regions while safeguarding aquatic ecosystems.
Maria Bossert, a recent graduate of Lafayette College, holds degrees in Anthropology & Sociology and International Affairs. She participated in the School for International Training’s semester abroad program in Nepal in 2022. Currently, as a Fulbright researcher, Maria is affiliated with Nepal’s National Trust for Nature Conservation, the Tharu Cultural Museum and Research Center, and the Agriculture and Forestry University. Her research focuses on understanding how national parks and protected land management measures impact local communities, their livelihoods, and their traditional ecological knowledge (TEK).
Specifically, Maria’s study revolves around exploring the TEK of the Indigenous Tharu communities in Chitwan District, bordering Nepal’s first national park, Chitwan National Park, founded in 1973. She aims to examine these communities’ relationship with environmental conservation. Through this study, Maria hopes to gain valuable insights into the effects of state-led conservation policies and practices on Tharu TEK.
Viola Bordon is a Philadelphia-based artist and educator who works with sculpture, drawing, printmaking, and fibers. She holds Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Washington University in St. Louis. As a Fulbright visiting artist and researcher, she will work with Kathmandu University School of Arts where she will investigate how art and craft adapt to environmental challenges, such as earthquakes, glacial outburst flooding, and climate catastrophes.
Her art is deeply connected to both craft and the natural world. Viola’s pieces explore the relationship between materials and the environment, questioning stability and interconnectedness.
In her work with fibers, Viola draws inspiration from traditional weaving and quilting techniques that have historical roots in pre-industrial craft. On the other hand, her exploration of landscapes raises important questions about sourcing, excessive consumption, and the impact of human activities on the environment.
Margaret Chi recently graduated from McGill University with bachelor’s degrees in both chemistry and religious studies. As a Fulbright researcher her research will focus on studying the 2023 Dengue season outbreak, and she will be working under the guidance of Dr. Rajeev Shrestha at Kathmandu University Hospital in Dhulikhel. Despite majoring in chemistry during her undergraduate studies, Margaret has always been passionate about virology. She gained valuable experience through a three-year internship at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, where she focused on studying HIV and SARS-CoV-2.
In addition to her academic pursuits, Margaret enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and rock climbing. She is excited and looking forward to her time in Nepal!
Dinasha Navindi Dahanayake is a medical student at the William Beaumont School of Medicine in Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Metabolism with a Minor in Disability Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. During her undergraduate years, Dinasha had the opportunity to study Physics at the University of Sussex as a Gilman Scholar. Her professional background encompasses roles as a research associate at Genentech, research endeavors in ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, as well as engagement in basic science and AI research at the University of California, Berkeley, and San Francisco.
She is a recipient of a Fulbright-Fogarty Scholarship, enabling her to undertake public health research in Nepal. She will be collaborating with the Nepal Cleft and Burn Center during her research period. She will be working with influential leaders in the field, such as her mentors Dr. Shankar Man Rai, MBBS, MS, at the Nepal Cleft and Burn Center, and Barclay Stewart, MD, PhD, MPH, at the University of Washington, Seattle. Together, they are dedicated to investigating the epidemiology of burns in Nepal, with a particular emphasis on slum, urban, and rural communities. Their goal is to formulate targeted strategies for the prevention of fire and burn injuries, with the intention of addressing the heightened incidence of such injuries in Nepal. The insights gained from their research are expected to contribute to the development of evidence-based prevention strategies, thereby promoting fire safety in urban, slum, and rural areas of Nepal, which could potentially be adapted for similar communities around the world.
Dinasha is an active member of several esteemed organizations, including the Gold Humanism Honor Society, the American Medical Student Association, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the Student National Medical Association.
Neha Balapal is an M.D. candidate from New York. She graduated from City University of New York City College in 2020 where she studied biomedical sciences, and currently attends the City University of New York School of Medicine. For her Fulbright-Fogarty fellowship year, Neha will spend 10 months at Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences (KUSMS), Dhulikhel Hospital in Nepal. Her project will focus on perceptions of integration of Ayurvedic medicine into cardiovascular disease prevention in conjunction with the ongoing Dhulikhel Heart Study (DHS). Through her work she hopes to understand cultural influences in medicine and its role in promoting preventative health. Her prior public health research has focused on diabetes and substance use, as well as digital health. She enjoys running, reading, and cooking, and she is looking forward to being a part of the Fulbright community in Nepal.