Caught in a perfect storm of pandemic and racial tensions: Rani Kulkarni reports from New York on how Rotary helped her achieve her goals.
Rani Kulkarni is a health lawyer and social justice advocate for the 2020’s. She’s also a Rotary Global Grant Scholarship recipient who grew up in Beaumaris.
She recently shared her story with Rotary Beaumaris.
Health and social justice goals
When Rani first approached Rotary in early 2019, she was a lawyer practising in medical negligence with aspirations to further health and social justice for lower socio-economic groups around the world. To achieve her dream, Rani had made it her goal to study for a Master of Laws.
“I applied to Columbia University and I was offered a position in the Master of Laws Program commencing in August 2019, which was extremely exciting as you can imagine.”
Rani was encouraged to talk with her local Rotary Club about possible scholarships. Because, after all, the cost of study at Colombia University runs into thousands of dollars a year!
“I had a few informal coffee chats with Beaumaris Rotary and Cheltenham Rotary. They asked me about my values and personal goals beyond my master’s studies. We spoke in particular about Rotary’s Areas of Focus.”
“I spoke at one of the Beaumaris Rotary functions. I was able to meet everyone, speak about my hopes and my dreams for my master’s and work beyond. And after a few more interviews, I was told that I’d been awarded a scholarship!”
After receiving her scholarship, Rani sped to the US to commence her master’s studies. In New York City, she made friends with a local Metro New York Rotary member. Throughout her studies, she received financial and emotional support from Rotary both home and abroad.
“To know that you have a whole host of people who are behind you and supporting you, in what is a challenging but amazing year, is incredible.”
Creating opportunities for others
Rani’s master’s studies were focussed on Public Health Law and Social Justice. She studied the legal and ethical frameworks that underpin the public health system in the U.S. and around the world. At the heart of her studies were social justice implications that result from health disparities.
During this time, she also participated in the Columbia Health Justice Advocacy Clinic, which allows students to represent low- income individuals facing barriers to accessing health care in New York.
“It is incredibly rewarding and a fantastic way to use my legal skills to give back to the community.”
Ultimately, Rani graduated with honours! In what has turned out to be a very different world, Rani now intends to use her new knowledge and skills to ensure the right outcomes for everyone needing health care. And that includes frontline essential workers during this pandemic outbreak.
“I am grateful to Rotary for helping me to achieve my dream of completing my master’s and for playing a key role in providing me with the opportunity to further develop my knowledge of health law.”
“Studying health law and being a social justice advocate is more important than ever. This pandemic has underscored the racial and socio-economic health disparities in the U.S. and around the world. I’m rewarded that I can now use my knowledge to help others.”
Rani tells us, she’s more than happy to speak to prospective Rotary Global Grant Scholarship candidates.
Post Graduate Global Grant Scholarships form one aspect of the Rotary Foundation Education Program.
Scholarships can be awarded to students who study for a postgraduate degree in support of one of the seven Rotary Areas of Focus:
- Promoting peace
- Fighting disease
- Providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene
- Saving mothers and children
- Supporting education
- Growing local economies
- Supporting the environment
To be approved, applicants must clearly describe how their studies align with one of Rotary’s Areas of Focus.
Information can be found at: https://www.rotary.org/en/our-programs/scholarships