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John Harvard's Journal

New Fellows

September-October 2020

Photographs of the new student writing fellows Che Applewhaite and Mean Venkataramanan

Photographs courtesy of Che Applewhaite and Meena Venkataramanan


Photographs courtesy of Che Applewhaite and Meena Venkataramanan

This fall the magazine welcomes seniors Che Applewhaite and Meena Venkataramanan to its editorial staff as the 2020-2021 Berta Greenwald Ledecky Undergraduate Fellows. Besides alternating as authors of the “Undergraduate” column, starting in the next issue, they will contribute articles in print and online about student activities and concerns and other aspects of Harvard life.

Applewhaite, of London, Mount Hope (Trinidad and Tobago), and the Dudley Community (formerly Dudley House), is a joint concentrator in anthropology and history and literature. His creative thesis will include a short documentary about a St. Louis-based youth athletics team. His first short film, A New England Document, received its world premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest, the U.K.’s most prestigious documentary festival. He has written for The Harvard Advocate, Harvard Political Review, and Harvard Crimson, and been a student guide for the Harvard Art Museums. He spent this summer in Cambridge doing thesis research, serving on the student advisory board of a College program that supports integrations of academic work with community engagement, and producing visual media with black feminist and prison abolitionist activists based in Boston.

Venkataramanan, of Tucson and Adams House, is concentrating jointly in English and South Asian studies. Her thesis will likely combine personal and reported essays about South Asian American immigration narratives in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, where she grew up. She is a founder of the multimedia storytelling initiative Stories from the Border, which seeks to share narratives from those borderlands and beyond, and of South Asian Americans in Public Service, a national collegiate movement that aims to cultivate the next generation of South Asian American civic leaders. Her writing has appeared in Politico and The Texas Tribune, on ABC News, and in The Harvard Political Review and Harvard Crimson. She spent the summer reporting (remotely) on Texas politics and policy for The Texas Tribune, exploring the Lone Star State and the hands that shape it through Google Maps and Twitter trends.

The fellowships are supported by Jonathan J. Ledecky ’79, M.B.A. ’83, and named in honor of his mother. To learn about past Ledecky Fellows and their work, see harvardmag.com/ledecky.

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