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Mili Jha Winner of Caputo Research Award



Political Science major Mili Jha has been awarded this year’s Alice and David Caputo Undergraduate Research Award for her proposal “Intersectionality during the HIV/AIDS and COVID 19 Pandemics: The politics of marginalized groups in presidential agenda setting.”

The Atlanta, Georgia educated student’s award-winning proposal will mine data on HIV/AIDS infections and deaths during the 1980s and COVID-19 infections and deaths in 2020. According to Jha, the project “will study the relationship between these infection and death rates among marginalized communities, presidential rhetoric during the respective pandemics, and legislation to provide relief to constituents.”

The project is supervised by Nadia Brown, Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies. For Jha, Brown’s role as mentor has been an “invaluable” one. She notes that Brown’s influence has extended beyond her role as a sounding board for her research. Jha highlights Brown’s role in helping her learn “about pathways to graduate school and of opportunities at Purdue and beyond.”

In addition to majoring in Political Science, Jha has been able to add numerous minors to her academic program at Purdue. She has no less than four minors -- Natural Resources & Environmental Science, Law & Society, Human Rights Studies, and LGBTQ+ Studies.

Jha appreciates all the opportunities Purdue has brought to her academic life. According to Jha, “From Aerospace Engineering to Political Science, and all the spaces I’ve been part of in between, I have been continuously learning and growing during my time at Purdue.”

Following her graduation from Purdue, Jha hopes to pursue a joint JD/PhD and continue her interest in civil rights and the treatment of “marginalized groups, particularly immigrants, racial minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community.”