About

Welcome to shameless self-promotion! Just kidding. Only sorta. A number of my friends and colleagues have their own blogs or websites to promote their views, research and work. I was encouraged by several of my peers to start my own. So here it is!

If you like my artwork and wish to buy one of my pieces (or have something done), please email me at hello@aashikadamodar.com with your request!

My Professional Bio: 

Aashika Damodar has special interests in understanding how emerging technologies impact the practice of law and business, ethics of technology, and the preservation of confidentiality in the digital age. Her career started in the non-profit sector working on anti-human trafficking policy advocacy. As a self-taught web developer, she has applied her technology skills toward designing and managing case management and other data collection systems and tools. She has worked with hundreds of non profits, service providers, law enforcement, prosecutors and state and federal government agencies to design and implement anti-trafficking investigative strategy, task force development, data collection and service provision standards. Aashika founded an NGO called Freedom Connect, a non-profit working to develop and extend innovative technology platforms toward anti-trafficking efforts, which has assisted grassroots organizations in Vietnam, Ghana, Haiti, Guatemala, and more.

More recently, Aashika formally transitioned to the legal sector to apply her expertise in advocacy efforts and technology. She has worked across public and private sector entities and is passionate about finding technology solutions to the most problematic legal situations.

Aashika is a graduate of the University in Cambridge and holds a Masters in International Development Economics as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley where she graduated with highest honors in Anthropology and Political Science. Her thesis on the politics of the “trafficked victim” won the Ronald Frankenberg Prize for the best thesis in Critical Medical Anthropology, the Sylvia Forman Prize from the American Anthropological Association and was published in the Project Censored Journal. Aashika also holds certificates in non profit management and leadership and paralegal studies.

She was recently named a Finding Fearless Leader by the Case Foundation and made it to the list of the “Top 99 under 33 Foreign Policy Leaders, 2012” list compiled by The Diplomatic Courier, a Washington DC-based global news and international affairs analysis magazine. She was awarded the UN Association Community Human Rights Award, Zimmerman Fellowship and Freedom Award in 2008 for her anti-trafficking work. Aashika frequently consults on issues of technology applications and impact on anti-trafficking efforts.

My “Real” Bio:

When I was a kid, I threw a lot of tantrums and would get angry about a lot of things. Injustice angered me, racism angered me, gender-norms angered me. They still do. The only place I could find solace was in a good book or with a sketch pad and pencils. A blank surface invited me to play, allowing my left and right brain to create as it pleased, and draw out complex emotions and thoughts, which I could not articulate at the time. I sleep with post-it notes at my bedside so I can quickly jot down my dreams and ideas. A lot of best work starts there, so don’t bug me when I sleep. I am incredibly excited about the world we live in. Things evolve so quickly, sometimes it’s hard to keep up. It feels like I’m on a roller coaster all the time. Luckily I love roller coasters.

Education:

2015   |  Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, Rice University |  Houston, TX
Certification in Paralegal Studies

2010 – 11   |  University of Cambridge (Trinity College)  |  Cambridge, UK
MPhil in Development Studies

2009  |  Georgetown University | Washington D.C.
Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate

2008  |  My Sister’s House (Domestic Violence Shelter)  |  Sacramento, CA
Certified California Domestic Violence Counselor

2006 – 2008  |  University of California, Berkeley
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & Anthropology

Awards:

2012 Desiclub.com Top 50 Coolest Desis of 2012
Case Foundation Finding Fearless Leader Award
Top 99 Foreign Policy Influences under 33: Innovator
2011 Emerge Social Venture Lab Fellowship
2010 Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship
Cambridge Overseas Trust
2008 Society for New Communications Research: Excellence Award in Use of New Media
Freedom Award, Anne Zimmerman Templeton Fellowship
United Nations Association: Community Human Rights Award
Sultan Fellow, Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Amnesty International Reebok Human Rights Fellowship (declined)
Ronald Frankenberg Prize for Best Senior Thesis in Critical Medical Anthropology
Sylvia Forman Prize for Best Senior Thesis, AFA, American Anthropological Association
2006 UC Berkeley Alumni Leadership Scholarship
2005 Distinguished Student Service Award, American River College
American River Foundation Scholar
Phi Theta Kappa Honor’s Society Recognition
Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor’s Society Recognition
Governors Scholarship, California

Publications:

Human Trafficking Task Force e Guide | 2014
Office for Victims of Crime/Bureau of Justice Assistance

“The Rise of ‘Great Potential’ – Youth Activism against Gender-Based Violence in a Digital Age” | 2012
Harvard International Review: Youth on Fire, Changing the Voice of Activism. Vol. XXXIV, Issue 2. 2012

“7 Days in the Life of Women in Technology”  | 2012
Google Women in Technology Interview Series

“Technology Helps Break Silence against Violence in Haiti”  | 2011
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Blog

“No ‘Pretty Woman’: Human Trafficking & Domestic Prostitution Reconsidered” | 2009
Censored 2010: The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2008-09. Ed. Philips & Huff, Seven Stories Press

Conferences:

Jul 2014 Presentation: “Modern-Day Slavery in the United States” Young Jains of America Biennial Leadership Convention
Feb 2013 Panel Presentation: “Human Trafficking and Technology: The New Frontier” Social Media Week, Hosted by The Institute on Religion and Democracy & Nokia, Washington DC 
Jan 2013 Panel Presentation: “Labor Trafficking” Bridge to Freedom Foundation, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
Sep 2011 Conference Secretariat: “Responsibility for Risk” University of Cambridge 29th Annual Symposium on Economic Crime, Jesus College
Apr 2011 Panel Presentation: “Protecting Vulnerable Populations” UC Berkeley Human Rights & Technology Conference: Advancing the New Machine
Apr 2010 Panel Presentation: “Social Media & Transnational Advocacy Networks”
Transnational Advocacy Networks and Public Diplomacy Conference, University of Southern California
Feb 2010 Presentation & Panel Discussion: “Using Technology to Combat Human Trafficking” Alliance for Youth Movements Summit, London, UK 
Jun 2009 Lecture: “Global Slavery” American University Washington D.C.
Mar 2009 Presentation: “Combating Human Trafficking in the U.S.” Johns Hopkins University, School of Nursing
Feb 2009 Presentation: “Human Trafficking: A Global Investigation” Conference: Human Trafficking: Internationally and In our Own Back Yard”, CSU Sacramento
Panel: “Combating Trafficking in Persons” US State Department, Visitor Exchange Program of World Learning
Jan 2009 Presentation: “Slavery in Washington D.C.” United Nations Association, Washington D.C.
Oct 2008 Paper Presentation: “No ‘Pretty Woman’: The Politics of the Trafficked Victim” Conference: Globalization, Media and Adult/Sexual Content: Challenges to Regulation and Research, Athens, Greece (University of Leeds; University of Athens)
Apr 2008 Clinton Global Initiative University Global Health Workshop and Scholarship, Tulane University
Feb 2008 Lecture: “Sex Trafficking and Addressing the Medical Needs of Survivors” Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sacramento Chapter
Nov 2007 Lecture: “Trafficking in Women: A Perspective from D.C” 4th Annual Violence Against Women Conference – Globalization and Women, CSU Sacramento 
Poster Presentation: “Modern-Day Slavery: Human Trafficking and Pimp-Control,” Human Rights Fellows Conference and Poster Session, University of California at Berkeley

 

 

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