M.A. International Education Policy, Harvard
B.A. Liberal Arts, Sarah Lawrence College
Uttara’s love for the mountains began in the Palani Hills in Kodaikanal, India. Here, amongst eucalyptus trees and bison, she went to an international boarding school for nine years.
At Sarah Lawrence she studied psychology, geography and development economics. She spent six months in Mannheim, Germany in an intensive German language school. This immersive experience involved many failed attempts to find the biscuit aisle in supermarkets – but by the end of her stay, she was able to give people directions in German!
After graduating she found her way to SECMOL, an alternative school in a village in Ladakh, where her planned month of volunteering was extended to a yearlong adventure of learning and teaching. SECMOL’s entirely green and sustainable campus is a natural extension of the classroom, and it has continued to inspire and inform her approach to education. Over the year, Uttara developed a deep and enduring connection to Ladakh, and the next summer she led a Putney Student Travel summer program here.
She later worked at Navdanya, an India-based NGO, that works to preserve traditional agricultural methods, creates and maintains seed banks across the country and advocates for women farmers’ rights. This also took her back to her favourite mountains to work with Women’s Alliance Ladakh, an all-women NGO that works on sustainability and women’s rights.
The following year, she went to Harvard to study International Education Policy. Here she took classes in social institutions and economic development, education in armed conflict and cross-cultural education.
Uttara loves to run and bake in equal measure. Her pile of YA novels is endlessly growing, and her questionable taste in music is something she will happily defend.