Dr. Satvika Chalasani first learned about the Population Council when she was a PhD candidate at the Pennsylvania State University, working with Prof. John Casterline—then a professor of Sociology and Demography and a former Senior Associate at the Population Council.
Dr. Chalasani, originally from India, was interested in joining a research organization that focused on programs and policies. After a 2008 internship at the Population Council with Judith Bruce, she applied to the Fred H. Bixby fellowship program—which matched early-career social and biomedical scientists from low- and middle-income countries with experienced Council mentors. She recalls the Bixby program as a “rare opportunity for young, developing country scholars to experience a high-quality institution” and that the Population Council was “the perfect place” for her.
Dr. Chalasani received mentorship from Dr. Barbara Mensch and Dr. Mark Montgomery, leaders in the areas of adolescence and urbanization respectively, and contributed to the Council’s Malawi Schooling and Adolescent Study and other research. She also cultivated an interest in the topic of child marriage, and gaining familiarity with the work of Council expert Dr. Sajeda Amin, with whom she continues to collaborate.
Today, Dr. Chalasani is a Technical Specialist and Lead on Ending Child Marriage at the UNFPA, where she coordinates evidence-based program and policy interventions for adolescent girls at risk of marriage and pregnancy globally. She also supports work to improve sexual and reproductive health services for young people. Dr. Chalasani credits her time at the Council with shaping her career, preparing her for her current position, and is proud to follow in the footsteps of former Council fellow Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, late Executive Director of UNFPA.