Prior to learning of the SNF Paideia Fellows program, Anusha considered her academic study ofdemocracy and citizenship separate from her interest in mental health and wellness. Anusha is looking forward to having an immersive experience with a cohort of supportive peers and faculty mentors who will help her integrate wellness and dialogue into her dedication for democracy and community impact.
Anusha cares deeply about criminal justice reform. Before starting at Penn, she interned at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and the Loyola Project for the Innocent (LPI), a pro-bono organization that provides legal assistance to wrongfully convicted inmates. During this experience, Anusha learned about the root causes of mass incarceration and wrongful conviction. She initiated a special project for LPI to explore factors that contribute to wrongful conviction and found that witness misidentification, false accusations, and false confessions are caused by institutionalized problems that disproportionately affect communities of color. She also examined intersectionality between wrongful conviction and race/racial bias, emerging DNA technology, and political climates of different states. The final project of her internship was to facilitate dialogue surrounding wrongful conviction. Anusha looks forward to building upon her interest in criminal justice reform through her fellowship with the Paideia Program and plans to look at the issue in the context of the Philadelphia community.
Anusha’s interest in criminal justice reform has inspired her involvement in the Penn Democrats Club as Legislative Director, where she organizes speaker panels, club discussions, and community advocacy events. Her participation in the SNF Paideia Program will provide a more nuanced perspective on legal advocacy through dialogue and discussion. Outside of Penn, Anusha loves being outdoors! At home, she hikes with her dogs in the mountains every day and goes to the beach with friends and family on weekends. She also took a gap year before starting Penn, during which she went on a 3-week long road trip to West Coast National Parks with eight other Penn Gappers. The SNF Paideia other pillars of wellness, service, and citizenship will provide vantage points through which Anusha will be able to engage with her academic interests and extracurricular passions actively and meaningfully.