1. Why did you apply to become an Acumen Fellow?
I applied for a number of reasons. One, I had heard about Acumen for years and had briefly interacted with some people from Acumen in the past so I was curious to know more. Two, I had never taken part in any such training or fellowship before so I was eager to gain this experience. Three, I hoped to meet like-minded “change-minded” people doing interesting things. Fourth, I applied because my boss at the World Bank, Zubair Bhatti, encouraged me to apply. However, I was afraid it might turn out to be a waste of time. Zubair said I’m young enough to take such risks and should give it a try. I’m glad I did!
2. What was your favorite part about the fellowship program?
The fellows! Diversity! I came in hoping to meet “like-minded” people but subconsciously I wanted those people to be similar to myself. However, they turned out to be very different from what I had expected. But different in a great way. Each individual comes from a different background and brings a new flavor to the melting pot. Without the fellows program, I would not have had the privilege of being part of such a diverse cohort.
3. What core skills have you gained or developed through the fellowship?
I’ve enjoyed the course material thoroughly. The sessions on Adaptive Learning were packed with useful ideas that I’ve already begun implementing daily. The financial skills session was a refreshing take on an otherwise mundane subject.
4. What surprised you about the fellowship?
I’m surprised at how involved many of the fellows, including myself, have become with the idea of the fellowship. Many of us are taking it very seriously and that’s very encouraging. Having said that, the fluctuating levels of interest also demonstrate, at least to myself, how people treat the concept of “respect”. Respect to oneself; respect to one another; respect for our work. At the end of the day, what has transpired in these months in the fellowship is not different from what we see around us everyday.
5. How has the fellowship had an impact on your life, on your career, on your project and/or on the people that you serve?
More than anything else, it has played a huge role in opening my mind to alternate faces and voices that are hidden, yet critical, facets of us as a nation. It’s given me a unique opportunity to be myself with people who are ve ry different from myself and learn from the “sparks” that ensued. How often do you get a chance to swim around in such a melting pot and just… absorb?