Part I of Navigating COVID-19: How AIF Alumni are Adapting to the Crisis?

The Navigating COVID-19 Webinar Series began in May 2019 during the height of the pandemic lockdown in India. The series, comprised of three webinars, was entirely led by current AIF Fellows and AIF Fellowship Alumni on various topics related to the social sector. The event was organized in support of AIF’s COVID-19 Response by the AIF Clinton Fellowship COVID Response Team.

On May 9th, we hosted the first webinar of the series, Navigating COVID-19: How AIF Alumni are adapting to the crisis including three presentations in storytelling, education, and entrepreneurship. Hosted by Jessica Standifer, the lighting presentations were given by AIF Alumnus Ben Lenzner, Maitreyi Nandhakumar, and Nikhil Mahen.


Four Tales of Storytelling & Harnessing our Lives with the Tools We Have: Archives, Documentary & Cultivating the Story

Ben Lenzer (’05-’06) is an artist, filmmaker, storyteller, photographer, documentary mediamaker, writer, and scholar in the study of screen and media. In 2005 – 2006, he was an AIF Fellow based in Dehradun, India. With a MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University (Canada) and a PhD in Screen & Media Studies from the University of Waikato (New Zealand), Ben’s work provides new angles and unique vantage points for documentary storytelling.

Reimagining Education Post-COVID-19: Understanding Emerging Trends and the Education Sector in India

Maitreyi Nandhakumar (’17-’18) is an Education Consultant based out of Bangalore. A Clinical Psychologist by training, she moved into the education space as a Special Educator 7 years ago, and enjoys nothing more than playing with children. As an AIF Fellow in 2017 -2o18, she worked on a life skills project at Shaishav in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. In recent years she has worked on assessment and evaluation projects for Quest Alliance, Stanford University, and the Center for Evaluation in Germany. Having taught short stints in Nepal and Ladakh and being a top notch baker, she dreams of opening an alternative school and bakery somewhere in the mountains.

Pivoting With Design: A Framework to Test and Pivot Startup Solutions

Nikhil Mahen (’13-’14) is currently setting up Relief Fund, an NGO that intends to build technologies for disaster relief. Nikhil was an AIF Fellow in the 2013-2014 class, and was posted in Madurai with Aravind Eye Hospital, an organization that he still feels very fondly towards. In the recent past, Nikhil was heading design methodologies for Development Bank of Singapore in Hyderabad, and has experience setting up deep tech labs in working with design focused start-ups across multiple industries. Nikhil has a master’s in Engineering Management from Duke University and a bachelor’s in Engineering from Manipal University.

Please watch the full presentations here:

Navigating Covid-19: How AIF Alumni are adapting to the crisis

The AIF Fellowship outreach team has organized a series of free events to raise support for #AIFCOVID19Response! Our first webinar of the series will be on Saturday, May 9, 2020.Please join us at 11am EDT/8:30pm IST for lightning talks on storytelling, startups, and education.Register here: here:

Posted by AIF Clinton Fellowship on Saturday, May 9, 2020

Jessica is serving as an American India Foundation (AIF) Clinton Fellow with TYCIA Foundation in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh, and Delhi, NCR. For her Fellowship project, she is designing a campaign for educational facilities to increase enrollment and retention of girls from the Korku tribe by incorporating life skills into the curriculum and training teachers. After completing her undergraduate studies, Jessica taught technical theater in the Performing Arts Department at Santa Susana High School. In addition to teaching, she designed a new curriculum, built community partnerships, and secured internship opportunities for students. Jessica participated in the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship program, studying Urdu in Lucknow. Furthermore, with a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship, she continued her Urdu studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison South Asia Summer Language Institute. Jessica is excited to join the AIF Clinton Fellowship to work with girls. Raised in Southern California, Jessica has always had a knack for storytelling, which has woven together her experiences in theater, research, and data science. Jessica looks forward to tackling her Fellowship project and building upon her studies in urbanization and quantitative research experience.

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Join Us

Stay up to date on the latest news and help spread the word.

Get Involved

Our regional chapters let you bring the AIF community offline. Meet up and be a part of a chapter near you.

Join a Chapter

Help us help those in need.

Subscribe to newsletter

Skip to content