Current Fellows

Agatha R Marak

Agatha's academic background includes graduation from Doon (PG) College of Agriculture Science & Technology, Uttarakhand, with a forestry degree. Subsequently, she served as a guest lecturer in Environmental Science for higher secondary sections at Mt. Dura Academy, gaining valuable experience in teaching school children. Later on, she became a part of the MBDA-MeghaLAMP (Meghalaya Livelihood Access to Market Project), where her skills and critical thinking were honed.

 Her diverse background and past experiences have proven to be instrumental in her current work with the legislators, as she demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of how different departments operate. Her journey as a Meghalaya Legislative Research Fellow has been both delightful and challenging. The fellowship has provided her with an excellent platform to express her thoughts on various subjects and work closely with selected legislators during different assembly sessions. Alongside this, she has played a crucial role in assisting the government in disseminating information on diverse topics and supporting the election process. As an MLR Fellow she is currently working with the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly’s. Estimates Committee in the preparation of upcoming assembly session.

Additionally, expert sessions during fellows training have broadened her perspective and understanding of complex issues. She had the opportunity to present a poster on "Contemporary Issues of Education in Meghalaya" at the Public Policy Dialogue held at the ISB Campus in Hyderabad.

Agatha's natural curiosity has always been one of her strengths, propelling her to seek new information and knowledge about current events and issues. Her experience in working closely with rural communities has honed her ability to address problems civilly and empathetically. Furthermore, her intuitive nature serves as a driving force, keeping her motivated even during challenging times.

As a humble individual, Agatha acknowledges that everyone makes mistakes, and she is no exception. However, she firmly believes in learning from her transgressions, constantly reconstructing her thinking, personality, and character to grow and improve.

Colleen Darica Diengdoh

Colleen holds a post-graduate degree in Politics with a specialization in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Prior to her fellowship, Colleen co-ran a bakery business in Shillong with her sisters.

The first year of the fellowship provided Colleen with valuable experiences. She interacted with experts from various fields, attended workshops for Meghalaya legislators, and received technical training on research methodology at the Indian School of Business. Her notable achievement during this time was securing second place in a poster presentation competition on 'Public Healthcare in Meghalaya' at the Public Policy Dialogues in Hyderabad.

Working collaboratively with her colleagues has been fulfilling for Colleen, and she appreciates the supportive work environment among the fellows. Throughout her assignments, she has learned and grown both professionally and personally. Among the major assignments, she extensively researched public healthcare in Meghalaya for Issue Briefs, and her analytical skills proved beneficial. Additionally, Colleen handled the role of Assistant Coordinator during the Northeast Olympic Games, managing catering for approximately 1200 people daily for ten days.

Her work at the Chief Electoral Officer's office provided her with firsthand insights into the complexities of conducting elections. Colleen's interactions with locals during public consultations for new development projects by the Tourism Department gave her valuable perspective on preserving culture while embracing economic renewal.

Colleen's journey as a Meghalaya Legislative Research Fellow has been enriching, empowering her to contribute effectively to public policy and governance while promoting the intersectionality of different sectors.

Ibalari Makri

Ibalari holds a master’s degree in Labour Studies and Social Protection from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Guwahati Campus, which she completed in 2019. She also possesses a Degree in Social Work from North Eastern Hill University (NEHU). With over 4 years of work experience, she has showcased proficiency in advocacy, social research, teaching, administration, evaluation, monitoring, and providing legislative research support.

Joining the Meghalaya Legislative Research Fellowship (MLRF) has provided Ibalari with a platform to explore, discover, and enhance her skill sets. During her time in MLRF, she has participated in various data and research workshops organized by the Indian School of Business (ISB).

She has been involved with the Meghalaya Early Childhood Development Mission (MECDM), focusing on the evaluation and monitoring of the State nutrition study. Her work aims to emphasize the importance of evaluation for effective implementation by strengthening the state's capacity in data collection for growth monitoring among children.

As part of the MLRF, Ibalari has been assisting ten legislators during the Budget and Autumn sessions. Her first-hand experience of working with state legislators has been enriching and encouraging. She actively engages with the legislators through brainstorming meetings, discussions, joint study sessions, and drafting evidence-based research-backed speeches for presentations in the State Legislative Assemblies.

Ibalari has had the privilege of being part of the coordinating team for the North East Olympics, where she handled catering for the Judo team. In addition, she contributed to the Office of the Chief Election Officer during the Meghalaya General Election, focusing on manpower vertical and expenditure monitoring. Her engagement in community consultations for development projects under the Tourism Department further demonstrates her diverse experience.

Notably, she presented a poster on the Issue Brief "Women and Child Issues in Meghalaya" at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, alongside a colleague.

Her journey as a Meghalaya Legislative Research Fellow has been filled with learning opportunities, enabling her to contribute effectively to various aspects of legislative research and development initiatives.

Lizzie Phanwar

Lizzie’s journey in the Meghalaya Legislative Research Fellowship has been a dynamic and transformative experience. Initially, she felt like a fish out of water, but the unwavering support and training provided by ISB helped her navigate the realm of public policy with confidence. Engaging in regular workshops and diverse training sessions enriched her knowledge, making her ready for future endeavors in this field.

For her the core focus of the fellowship lies in offering legislative support to the Legislators, and Lizzie was assigned to assist five legislators during each session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. Embracing these responsibilities, she developed her communication skills and became more adept at public speaking, which significantly boosted her confidence.

The camaraderie and teamwork among the Fellows have been a major highlight for Lizzie. Collaborating with individuals from diverse backgrounds enriched her learning experience, and formal discussions and informal conversations have imparted valuable insights to her.

Interacting with the Hon'ble Legislators provided Lizzie with a deeper understanding of their in-depth knowledge, which comes from years of experience. The Fellowship offered her the opportunity to look at life from different perspectives and think outside the box, broadening her horizons.

The significance of law and its application across various facets of life became evident to Lizzie. Her grasp of constitutional law enabled her to analyze and interpret policies from a legal standpoint, enhancing her ability to comprehend complex issues.

In her role as a co-author for the Issue Brief on "Skill Development Programmes in Meghalaya," Lizzie had the opportunity to engage with trainees and trainers involved in different skill programs within the State, gaining valuable insights.

Beyond the Fellowship, Lizzie maintains a part-time position as a Guest Lecturer in Medical Law and Ethics at the Bansara Institute of Ophthalmic Sciences in Shillong. Previously, she worked as an Advocate in Shillong, bringing her legal expertise to various domains.

Lizzie's creative talent is another facet of her multifaceted personality. She enjoys crafting unique accessories using polymer clay, and her work in recycling and customizing shoes earned recognition from the Indian Entrepreneurship Foundation.

Reflecting on her journey, Lizzie acknowledges the personal and professional growth the Fellowship has afforded her. Participating in public policy workshops and dialogues allowed her to interact with like-minded individuals and engage in discussions aimed at positively impacting the State.

While the journey had its ups and downs, Lizzie emerged stronger, with a clearer vision for her future endeavors. The Fellowship has given her a platform to grow, learn, and evolve, fostering a sense of gratitude for the opportunities it presented. Through this experience, she has honed her ability to stay focused while multitasking when necessary, equipping her for future challenges and successes.

Mebbaailin Blah

Mebaailin is a Social Entrepreneurship postgraduate from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and holds an undergraduate degree in Social Work from North Eastern Hill University. She is also an alumnus of the Citizens for Public Leadership (CPL) Fellowship. Her professional background primarily revolves around working with children and youth in the fields of education and skill development. Mebaailin has previously served at Teach for India, Meghalaya State Skills Development Society, and SOS Children’s Villages of India.

Joining the Meghalaya Legislative Research Fellowship (MLRF) provided Mebaailin with a deeper understanding of the legal and policy framework related to her domain of work. The fellowship exposed her to the potential for growth and the challenges faced by the state. During the first year, Mebaailin actively participated in the legislative assembly sessions, supporting legislators by conducting research, compiling data, and drafting issue briefs and questions for the Assembly.

The second year of the fellowship broadened her exposure through attendance at the Public Policy Dialogues held at ISB Hyderabad and the Public Policy Workshop for Legislators at ISB Mohali. Leadership and emotional intelligence sessions conducted by Shri Rajeshwar Upadhyay were particularly enriching, benefiting various aspects of her professional life. The emphasis on enhancing research skills contributed to the fellows' ability to provide better legislative support. Mebaailin appreciated the insights gained from government departments and had the opportunity to engage with various offices during events like the North East Olympics Games 2022 and the Meghalaya General Election.

The fellowship's major learning opportunities came from various training workshops led by experts and academicians in the field of public policy. These workshops served as a foundational block for the fellows to build upon, focusing on data analysis, data visualization techniques, and qualitative and quantitative research. Expert sessions, such as O.P. Agarwal's insights on City Visioning, were highly engaging and provided the fellows with valuable knowledge and skills.

Throughout her journey with MLRF, Mebaailin learned the significance of applying theory to practice, drawing from her educational background, which emphasized fieldwork. She appreciated the exposure to innovative problem-solving approaches and the importance of building institutional capacity. The assignments during the fellowship helped her develop essential skills like teamwork, time management, critical thinking, research, reporting, and documentation.

Overall, the fellowship has been a transformative experience for Mebaailin, equipping her with valuable knowledge and skills to make a meaningful impact in her field of work and contribute to the development of Meghalaya.

Motika Sinha Rymbai

Motika holds an academic background in Economics, pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics at North-Eastern Hill University. With six years of research experience, including an MPhil and Ph.D. in Economics, Motika has authored and co-authored about 10 papers focusing on public economics and public health, published in reputable Indian journals. Her work experience also includes serving as a higher secondary school teacher and an assistant lecturer in Economics at Kiang Nangbah Government College.

Joining the Meghalaya Legislative Research Fellowship marked a new phase in Motika's policy research path. During the first year of MLRF, Motika benefitted from various learning experiences, including workshops and training on research methodology and public policy, conducted by the Bharti Institute of Public Policy at the Indian Institute of Business. Expert talks by renowned personalities enriched her understanding of diverse issues prevalent in India, such as maternal and child health, higher education, legal policy, climate, and environmental impact.

Through MLRF, Motika had the opportunity to collaborate with legislators, gaining valuable insights into the significance of different opinions and the factors influencing policy implementation. Apart from her principal work with the fellowship, she also undertook various assignments, including acting as a Liaison Officer to a State Guest, serving as a Data and Report Analyst in the Election Department, and analyzing data at the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Mission in Meghalaya. Additionally, she conducted research and documentation related to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

The knowledge and skills acquired through MLRF were effectively applied in three research works in 2022, encompassing topics like NREGA in Meghalaya, the potential benefits of liberalization in Dawki, and the taxation capacity of Autonomous District Councils in Meghalaya. Her work was presented at significant seminars and dialogues, adding to her academic contributions.

Motika considers the fellowship as a significant turning point in her life, allowing personal growth and advancement. She attributes her success to disciplined time management and a strong commitment to applying the knowledge gained through MLRF. She firmly believes that the fellowship is a commendable initiative for future researchers, providing them with a valuable platform to apply their knowledge effectively.

Natasha Dkhar

Natasha holds a postgraduate degree in english literature from North Eastern Hill University and a Diploma in Finance and Accounts, Natasha has a diverse educational background. Prior to joining the fellowship, she worked as an Associate Editor at The Northeast Today and as an Accounts Assistant with a local firm. Natasha also possesses teaching experience, having taught English to overseas students from Korea and Khasi language to learners from Australia. Her proficiency lies in writing exclusive reports, critical/opinionated articles, and content creation.

Natasha's journey with MLRF has been a transformative experience since its inception. The fellowship has provided her with unique opportunities for learning and growth, including training programs, brainstorming exercises, expert sessions, and participation in Assembly sessions. As a fresher in the research field, she has gained insightful knowledge, valuable experiences, and lasting memories.

Her interest in state affairs made the legislative assembly sessions a key highlight of her fellowship experience. Collaborating with legislators and utilizing the learnings from BIPP-ISB mentors, Natasha provided legislative support through evidence-based research. Working closely with legislators allowed her to understand the grassroots level functioning of programs, schemes, and policies, contributing to her understanding of the legislative affairs machinery for good governance in the state.

Participation in workshops in Mohali and Hyderabad further enriched her experience. The Public Policy Workshop enabled legislators to share ideas and learn from experts, fostering cross-learning with the fellows. In Hyderabad, Natasha presented a poster on "Women and Child Issues in Meghalaya," a topic she worked on throughout the fellowship, aiming to provide policy recommendations for potential solutions.

The fellowship also granted Natasha opportunities to attend Public Consultation meetings, serve as an assistant coordinating officer during the Northeast Olympic Games, and be a part of the Media Certification & Monitoring Committee. These experiences honed her research and strategy, monitoring and evaluation, communication, and writing skills.

With the two-year tenure of the fellowship nearing completion, Natasha's perspectives have expanded, recognizing the crucial role of research in policy-making and governance. Collaborating with a diverse group of fellows and mentors has fostered effective cross-learning, encouraging her to grow and seek new knowledge and skills.

She firmly believes that MLRF's initiative will continue to succeed with continued deliberations and effective utilization by legislators, providing a pathway for researchers to address grassroots-level issues and devise policies benefiting stakeholders. Natasha sees the potential for taking the MLRF concept to the Autonomous District Council level as well. Overall, her experience with the fellowship has been life-changing, empowering her to contribute effectively to the state's development and policymaking.

Past Fellows

Anuradha Seal

Anuradha is a PhD Scholar in gri-business Manmagement, is deeply engrossed in studying the adoption of agricultural technology in Garo Hills. Her academic journey includes a Master's and an MPhil degree in Rural Development and Agricultural Production from North Eastern Hill University. Anuradha's expertise extends to governance and public policy through her work at SKOCH Group. Moreover, she has contributed significantly to the Megha-LAMP Project of IFAD and Government of Meghalaya, showcasing her commitment to rural development and agricultural progress in the region. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Anuradha is poised to make a positive impact in her field.

Hirak J Sharma

Hirak completed his Master of Social Work with a specialization in Community Organization and Development Practice. He has previously worked with Community the Youth Collective (UNICEF), Pratigya Ranchi. His area of interest is youth development, sustainable development at the community level, approach to quality education in India, climate change, intersectional feminism, and public policy & politics.

Jolwarhring Hrangbung

Jolwarhring graduated from National law university Odisha (NLUO) with a BA.LLB. degree (Batch of 2020). During her course of study, she has done internships ranging from Litigation, Corporate Law and Human Rights and interned under Lawyers practising at High Courts, Supreme Court and different Court Tribunals. She was practicing at Delhi before joining the Meghalaya Legislative Research Fellowship.

Naheed Yasin Islam

Naheed, a Physics post-graduate from the National Institute of Technology, Meghalaya, embarked on her journey as a Meghalaya Legislative Research Fellow (MLRF) at MATI in January 2022. Despite her initial concerns about administrative workings and Public Policy, she embraced the fellowship's diverse learning opportunities. Through mentorship and ISB's Public Policy lessons, Naheed gained a thorough understanding of pressing state issues. As an MLRF, she contributed evidence-based legislative support, honing her research and communication skills while tackling challenges like the "Unemployment Scenario in Meghalaya." Additionally, Naheed showcased leadership during the Northeast Olympic Games and engaged with Election Officials during the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Elections, refining her problem-solving abilities.