UCF India Center Hosts Visiting Fulbright Scholar

By Vihan Yalamanchili

Lalitaguari Kulkarni at Dr. Phillips High School

Through a grant provided by the Fulbright Outreach Lecturing Fund (OLF), the The India Center at UCF hosted Lalitagauri Kulkarni, Ph.D., Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellow at the University of Michigan and Associate Dean of Faculty at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, in March 2024. During Kulkarni’s visit, she engaged with the UCF community including students, Valencia College students, high school students, and Central Florida community members.

The Fulbright Program states that “The OLF award is designed to enrich both institutions and Visiting Scholars through lectures that will promote academic disciplines and cultural understanding.” Kulkarni promoted understanding of India through the various activities during her Central Florida visit.
Each of Kulkarni’s talks were tailored to the audience. At Dr. Phillips High School, Kulkarni presented lectures to two groups of students who are part of the Center for International Studies magnet program. In her lectures, Kulkarni gave an overview of financial technology, or FinTech, and discussed the advances and challenges of FinTech in India. The students also had an opportunity to ask questions and speak one-on-one with Kulkarni.

As a current Fulbright-Nehru scholar in the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work, Kulkarni was eager to engage with UCF Social Work students. She gave a guest lecture for students in the “Social Work with Immigrants and Refugees” class with Asli Yalim, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Social Work, where she discussed the interaction of FinTech and Social Work, looking at social work issues in both the United States and India.

The Study Abroad and Global Experiences Office of Valencia College hosted an International Night for Kulkarni. She provided an informal, round-table discussion with Valencia College staff, international students, and global distinction scholars where she shared her academic and professional experiences. Students then had an opportunity to discuss further issues of interest with Kulkarni.
During her visit, Kulkarni also met several local community members and UCF faculty members. On her final day in Orlando, she gave a public lecture on the growth of FinTech in India and the United States. The talk was well received by students, faculty members and community members. Guests were able to engage one-on-one with Kulkarni following the talk.

“The India Center is happy to have hosted Dr. Kulkarni to share her experiences and FinTech research with UCF and central Florida community,” said Leila Chacko, Director of Public Affairs of the India Center. “We are grateful to the Outreach Lecturing Fund, which assisted in making the trip possible. Dr. Kulkarni engaged with many groups of students and community members who hopefully gained new knowledge on contemporary India.”

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