The New Jersey Leadership Program (NJLP) is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting South Asian American youth participation and education at the local level of government in the State of New Jersey. NJLP and its fellowship program focuses on developing leadership, building public policy knowledge, and filling the pipeline for South Asian Americans to work in government or pursue public office at the local, state, and federal levels.

READ BELOW –  Bios of the 2018 Summer Fellows of the NJLP.

Meet Patel

Placement: Office of the New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy

Meet Patel currently attends Rutgers University, New Brunswick and will be entering his fourth year of college. He is active in the city of New Brunswick and Rutgers University and holds leadership positions in both the New Brunswick Democratic Council as Committeeman and in the Rutgers Senate as a Senator. He currently resides in his hometown of Mahwah.

His career aspirations include studying Economics and Cognitive Science at Rutgers and eventually running for the U.S. Senate. He is also interested in calligraphy, graphic designing, and traveling. Meet decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow because of his passion for the art of politics in the community and make a difference to benefit the society.

Eshika Kaul

Placement: Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak

Eshika Kaul currently attends Watchung Hills Regional High School and will be entering her fourth year of high school. She is active in the Watchung Hills Municipal Alliance, All School Student Council and Diversity Club. Furthermore, she is the founder of the student-run wellness committee, the Secretary of Action Against Hunger, and a member of the school’s Peer Leaders. She currently resides in  her hometown of Green Brook.

Eshika’s career aspirations include studying policy or international relations in college and using her law degree to work at a non-profit. She is also interested in classical Indian dance, and has learned Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, and Mohiniyattam. Eshika decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow because this program gives her a once in a life-time opportunity of learning, mentoring, and engaging with influential and inspirational people.

Kevan Shah

Placement: Senator Joe Vitale

Kevan Shah currently attends the Academy for Medical Science Technology at the Bergen County Academies and will be entering college this fall. He was active in his school’s chapter of Junior State of America, Health Occupations Students of America, and Relay for Life. He also served as the Director of the Bergen SciChallenge, a science fair for elementary and middle school students in Bergen County, and conducted biomedical research in the Leonardi Lab at Bergen County Academies and the Kellendonk Laboratory at Columbia University Medical Center. He currently resides in his hometown of Cliffside Park.

His career aspirations include combining his passion for science with his passion for public policy. Kevan decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow because it represents the ideal next step for him to learn how to couple his passion for science with his passion for policy.

Deepa Irakam

Placement: Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak

Deepa Irakam currently attends Watchung Hills Regional High School and will be entering her third year of high school.  She is active in the student government, Model UN club, and Speech and Debate club. She holds leadership positions as President of her class, secretary of the Model UN, and Co-founder/Co-president of the Speech and Debate club. She currently resides in her hometown of Warren.

Her career aspirations include studying law and political science in college, and eventually running for public office. She is also interested in music as a flutist in the New Jersey Youth Symphony, and dance as a Bharatanatyam classical dancer. Deepa Irakam decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow because she would like to learn about a career in government.

Ketan Sengupta

Placement: Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.

Ketan Sengupta currently attends West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North and will be entering his third year of high school. He is an active participant in his school’s Model UN and Model Congress teams; he also writes for his school and local newspapers. He currently resides in his hometown of Princeton.

Ketan’s career aspirations include entering the American diplomatic service or working as an attorney. Ketan decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program summer fellow because of his intense interest in advocating for progressive reform and social justice. By having the opportunity to work with established members of New Jersey’s political community, he hopes to effect change by learning about the nuances and complexities of the American political system.

Emma Singh

Placement: Assemblyman Raj Mukherji

Emma Singh currently attends Peddie School and will be entering her 4th year of high school. She is active in Debate Club, Young Democrats Club, Feminist Club and the crew team. She previously worked for Josh Gottheimer’s congressional campaign and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr.  Emma currently resides in Tenafly.

Her career aspirations include studying civil rights law and becoming a US Senator. She is also interested in traveling, music, and cooking. Emma decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow because of her passion for politics.

Sahiti Tholeti

Placement: Senator Vin Gopal

Sahiti Tholeti currently attends West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South and will be entering her fourth year of high school. She is active in Girl Scouts, Model United Nations, Junior Statesmen of America, Debate, and her school’s Ted-Ed Club. She holds a leadership position in Project Pride Club and at her local Chinmaya Mission branch. She currently resides in her hometown of Plainsboro.

Her career aspirations include pursuing politics and public affairs, eventually working on Capitol Hill and K Street. She is also interested in international relations and business management. Sahiti decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow because of her passion for politics.

Shayori Pal

Placement: New Jersey Department of the Treasury

Shayori Pal currently attends the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and will be entering her junior year of college. She is active in Model United Nations and the Women Involved in Learning and Leadership Living Learning Community, as well as leadership positions in The REACH Initiative. She currently resides in her hometown of Princeton.

Her career aspirations include becoming a foreign service officer at the U.S. Department of State. She is also interested in playing piano, reading, and history. Shayori decided to apply to be a New Jersey Leadership Program Summer Fellow to gain knowledge about the private and public sector.

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