Investing in Tomorrow's Leaders - HAF Interns on the Hill

Washington, D.C. (June 2, 2011) - Only one week into the Hindu American Foundation’s Congressional Internship, the five interns already had much to share of their experiences and insights gained into the political process when they reconvened over the weekend with HAF leaders. This year brought HAF its inaugural class of interns -- five college students who were selected through a highly competitive process and placed into congressional offices to serve as interns for six weeks this summer.
"We're excited about offering this first-of-its-kind opportunity to young Hindu Americans and are thrilled with the calibre of our initial class. They’re not only hard-working and capable, but outstanding representatives of our community,” said Sheetal Shah, HAF’s Senior Director and coordinator of the internship program. “We’re also grateful to the congressional offices for taking these emerging leaders under their wings to teach them first-hand the inner-workings of our government.”
In addition to placing the students in various congressional offices, the Foundation also provided the interns with room and board and coverage of incidental expenses for the full six weeks of the program. The Foundation also organized a half-day event for the interns to learn more about HAF’s advocacy efforts and become more involved with HAF. Throughout the year, the interns will continue to have opportunities to share their experiences at various HAF programs, including joining the HAF delegation at the upcoming DC Advocacy Days on September 20.
"These interns represent the future leaders of the Hindu American community and for that reason we believe it is vital to develop their interest and expertise in advocacy,” said Suhag Shukla, HAF’s Managing Director and Legal Counsel. “It is our hope that the Hindu American Congressional Internship enables this and future classes of interns to fully understand the legislative process to better lead our community’s advocacy efforts going forward.”

2011 Hindu American Congressional Interns

Sandhya Devaraj - Office of U.S. Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) 
Sandhya is a rising senior at the University of Maryland, College Park with significant business experience. She serves as the president of the college’s Hindu Students Council, leading its educational and awareness campaign of Hindu faith traditions.
Neil Gundavda - Office of U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Neil is a rising senior at the University of Florida and was elected to the school’s state senate, serving in an active role in student government for the past three years.
Prithvi Guruprasad - Office of U.S. Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Prithvi is a rising junior at the University of California, Berkeley who speaks six languages and has nearly 15 years of experience in Indian classical music as a vocalist, composer, and performer. She has conducted extensive volunteer work in her local community, including as a tutor, spreading literacy in India, and educating people about India’s languages, culture, and traditions.
Ashmi Patel - House Foreign Affairs Terrorism Subcommittee, Chaired by U.S. Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA)
Ashmi is a senior at Southern Methodist University majoring in religious studies. She has been actively involved in women’s health care and Indian American campus activities.
Sonal Somaiya - Office of U.S. Congressman Donald Manzullo (R-IL)
Sonal is a rising sophomore at Georgetown University with experience in both American and Indian classical dance. She has been actively involved in business, women’s and Indian American activities on campus.