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Meet Our Resident Scholarship Recipients

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Since 1930, over 80,000 individuals have come to call I-House home, and have benefitted from its unique multicultural community dedicated to intercultural respect, friendship, and leadership skills for a more peaceful world. Thousands would not have had this opportunity if not for financial aid made possible by philanthropic support. Today, I-House provides room and board scholarships to roughly 100 residents each year, although we are unable to meet the documented need among dozens of qualified applicants each year.


Vasundhara Sirnate

Name: Vasundhara Sirnate
Country: India
Scholarship: Arun & Rummi Sarin
Field of study: Political Science

Background: Coming from Gwalior in the Madhya Pradesh province of India, Vasundhara has a Bachelors in Journalism and a Masters degree in both Political Science and Philosophy. Her previous research covered gender issues and right-wing politics in India. "My current work examines tribal insurgencies in northeast and central India."

Future plans: "I came to Berkeley because of the intellectual freedom and innovation it offered. My future plans include returning to India frequently in order to further my work on the functioning of the state's coercive apparatus and its engagement with insurgents. I am also deeply interested in the effect of low intensity conflict on women."

About I-House & her scholarship:
"Living at International House marks a turning point for me. I am experiencing being a regular student again, after three years of repeated sojourns into conflict zones. I'm making new friends and engaging intellectually with people from different fields. I see the Sarin Fellowship as an endorsement of my efforts. I am grateful for the support and encouragement this Fellowship embodies."


Dana DePietro

Name: Dana DePietro
Country: USA
Scholarship: Open Gateway
Field of study: Archaeology

Background: Originally from Loomis, Calif., Dana attended UC San Diego as an undergraduate. "It was there that my interest in the peoples, cultures and languages of the Middle East was first awakened by an archaeological dig in Jordan, and studying abroad in Cairo. The experience of living and working in the Middle East's largest capital city opened my eyes to unique perspectives and rich cultural heritage. I became aware for the first time of the challenges and responsibilities of living as a global citizen, as well as the incredible rewards."

Future plans: "My ambition is to continue teaching at the university level. I will continue to direct the non-profit Society for Humanitarian Archaeological Research and Exploration, whose current work in Israel/Palestine seeks to engage young people on both sides of the conflict there in an exploration of the past, present and one another."

About I-House & his scholarship: "I am able to finish writing my dissertation in peace and comfort while at the same time engaging with a vibrant international community I am proud to be a part of. I-House programs provide tools useful in my work for understanding and facilitating dialogue between cultures. I cannot overstate how vital my scholarship is to allowing me to complete my degree at Berkeley, and live in such a special community. I am forever grateful to I-House and the alumni who made my stay here possible."


Selina Shieunda Makana

Name: Selina Shieunda Makana
Country: Kenya
Scholarship: Mouen-Makoua Gateway
Field of study: Linguistics

Background: "There is a saying in Kenya: 'To educate a girl child is to educate an entire village,'" says Selina, who grew up in rural western Kenya before moving to Nairobi. She credits her parents with supporting her college education: "I wanted something more and different for myself. Being a first born in a large family of twelve, I wanted to set a good example for my siblings."

Future plans: Selina hopes to become a professor after completing her program, adding she's "particularly interested in my department because of its interdisciplinary approach ... No place felt right other than UC Berkeley."

About I-House & her scholarship: "The International House community is diverse and lively. Never in my life have I interacted with people from almost every corner of the world on a daily basis. As much as I see myself as being open minded, I have realized that there is so much to learn every day about different cultures. Thanks to the Gateway Scholarship, I now have a wonderful opportunity to experience academic excellence as well as cross-cultural fulfillment."