Priya graduated from the UA in 2010 with degrees in anthropology and chemistry and a minor in French. She worked with the BARA Internship Program from 2009 to 2010, contributing to an ethnographic study of the Tucson refugee population’s access to essential resources and relationships with service providers. She learned to apply a community-based participatory model to explore cultural, linguistic, and bureaucratic challenges faced by refugee families and students. In 2012, Priya earned a degree in anthropology from Oxford, focusing on cross-cultural investigation and visual, material, and museum anthropology, culminating in her thesis on the role of visual capital and symbolic power structures in U.S. immigration debates. After graduate school, tremendously valuing her experience as a BARA intern, Priya returned to BARA to support a study of the socio-economic impacts of offshore oil and the Deepwater Horizon disaster on Gulf Coast communities.
For the past few years, Priya managed qualitative research studies at National Journal—a journalism, research and consulting company in Washington, D.C. She developed qualitative methods from the ground up for studies aiming to improve communication between stakeholders in the policymaking process, training new researchers and adding rigor to their research. In early 2017, Priya traveled through India, Nepal, Myanmar, and Japan, studying climate change perceptions and local agricultural systems through interviews and participatory observation, working for a short time on a farm (through WWOOF), and documenting her experiences through photographs. Now, Priya is living in D.C. and finding opportunities to apply her research skills to community health studies.
Working with BARA was formative for Priya, developing and cementing her interest in ethnography, qualitative methods, and community-based participatory research. She is grateful for the unique experiences BARA offered her and continues to hold them up as a bar against which she measures new opportunities. Priya says of her experience, “BARA changed the way I view research. It showed me that research can be hands-on and geared toward application, and results. Often hyper-local, replicable results. It showed me that research rooted in communities can create real, positive change. This is what inspires and motivates me.”