KIP Student Feature – Janki Bhatt
This summer Janki Bhatt (CAS’23) has been interning with Zaman Laboratory, under the direction of Professor Muhammad Zaman. Janki’s opportunity revolves around healthcare and statelessness in Pakistan and as a research intern she has been assisting Professor Zaman with research, interviews, and meeting. Her summer will conclude by assisting Professor Zaman with an article about the urgent need to address statelessness within the ethnic Bengali communities of Pakistan, while focusing on the topic of healthcare accessibility.
Q&A with Janki Bhatt
Could you give us a brief description of the organization you are interning with and what your primary responsibilities are during this internship?
My internship opportunity revolves around healthcare and statelessness in Pakistan. I am working under Professor Muhammad Zaman, who is a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at BU, at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and is the founder of Zaman Laboratory. My responsibilities include assisting Professor Zaman with research, interviews and meetings.
How will your internship fulfill the goals of social justice?
The aim of the research I assist with is to spread awareness about the perils of statelessness in Pakistan and the hardships that individuals face due to a lack of a documented nationality. In addition, we also hope to facilitate efforts on multiple levels to eradicate statelessness in the nation. This is how my internship opportunity enables me to fulfill the goals of social justice.
Has the work you have done this summer changed how you think about social justice?
This internship opportunity has immensely impacted the way I think about social justice. In the early stage of my research, I mentioned to Professor Zaman how desensitized we have become to human suffering and just how much of it remains undocumented. He told me, “Such research is very important and also very saddening. And while it is important to feel sympathy and grief for people in difficult situations, it is equally important to not let the grief overcome and paralyze us.” We have the ability to help so many people and we should try our best. His response really stuck with me and changed how I view the implementation of social justice.
How has the Kilachand coursework helped prepare you for the work you are doing during your internship?
HC302, a KHC class I took about the global refugee crisis with Professor Zaman, Professor Preston and other wonderful faculty members, helped sensitize me to the topic of large populations of people being forced to migrate and the hardships they continue to face after escaping from their homeland. Stateless people are different from refugees in that they do not have a land to call home. Essentially, there is no nation to which they can repatriate. HC302 helped me better recognize the differences between a refugee and a stateless person. Furthermore, HC302 was a research heavy class, and academically prepared me to participate in and record rigorous, in-depth research.
You have worked with Professor Zaman in HC302; what has it been like to work with him in this different capacity?
Observing Professor Zaman conducting and responding to the research process has been an invaluable experience. He is immensely knowledgeable and respectful of all aspects of academia, which was very clear in HC302. Working with him on this project has also enabled me to learn from the technical side of his research capabilities. There were aspects of our research that were new to him as well, and that was one of the biggest learning points for me which I believe I would not have had in a classroom setting. Having the opportunity to observe Professor Zaman positively respond to not having a piece of information and absorbing new material was very insightful. Working with him encouraged me to show my curiosity and ask as many questions as possible.
Learn more about the Kilachand Internship Program here.