Akshay Sinha (GRD ’15), a second-year student in the McCourt School of Public Policy, was awarded the 2014-15 McCourt School Whittington Scholarship. As part of the scholarship, Sinha received an $11,000 financial award and will be recognized at the McCourt School’s Whittington Lecture.

“Akshay excels academically and is committed to community service. When selected, he had the second highest GPA in the Master of Public Policy program. He also volunteers in many McCourt and non-McCourt activities,” McCourt School Director of Communications Lauren Mullins said. “The McCourt School is thrilled to recognize Akshay, an exemplary student at our School. The Whittington Scholarship is incredibly meaningful to our community.”

The Whittington Scholarship was created in memory of Leslie Whittington, a former dean of the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and professor who died in the 9/11 attacks with her husband and two children. The annual scholarship is awarded to a second-year McCourt School student who displays high academic achievement and commitment to service.

Sinha, a student from New Delhi, came to Georgetown after working for KPMG Advisory Services in Mumbai, India for three years and decided to attend the McCourt School because of his interest in clean energy.

“I used to work in consulting and I’ve always been very interested in energy and energy projects as such. I wanted to get more involved with project design, financing and specifically, clean energy projects. It was logical for me to do a public policy program. The McCourt School happened to be the best and was based out of D.C.,” Sinha said.

Committed to community involvement and service, Sinha is an active member of student groups including a community soccer team and the Georgetown Public Policy Student Association, while also having volunteered with non-Georgetown affiliated organizations such as the Irish Wheelchair Association in Dublin, Ireland and the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India. Sinha explained his commitment to community involvement as an important element of his education.

“For me, school has never just been about academics. Schools are always about community. The best part about going to school is that it gives you time to explore things you don’t have time to do in the rest of your life. You have time to get involved and meet new people. It’s a lot of fun and its also very educative to learn about other people,” Sinha said.

Last year, as the GPPSA Interest Representative, Sinha was responsible for intra-student interactions and for organizing events that allowed students to share their experiences with one another. Sinha is now the treasurer of the GPPSA.

He also emphasized his relationships with other students and his professors as integral to his education and experience at the McCourt School.

“My fellow students are really great and very intelligent people. There is a lot that I can learn from them and I think I have learned as much from them as I have learned in class. There is a big sense of community we have here,” Sinha said.

Andreas Kern, Sinha’s thesis advisor and a visiting assistant professor of international political economy, development economics and European policy, called Sinha an exceptional and deserving student.

“Akshay is an exceptionally well-trained, intellectually curious, hard-working and very humble student with a great sense of humor and a strong passion for evidence-based policy making. He also has a strong passion for finding sustainable and feasible solutions to complex policy challenges,” Kern said.

Kern first met Sinha when Sinha approached him about his project on suicides among farmers in the Indian cotton industry. Having met with Sinha and the group of students he worked on the project with, Kern was very impressed by the group’s creativity and with the ideas they produced, noting Sinha’s passion and strong work ethic.

“I realized that Akshay is a student, who is willing to run the extra mile in order to make a difference and to improve the lives of those among us in this world that are less fortunate than him/us,” Kern said.

Sinha explained that most second-year graduate students apply for the McCourt School’s scholarships with a common application that evaluates both academic performance and community involvement.

“I wasn’t really expecting to win the scholarship so it was definitely a surprise. I wasn’t expecting to get anything because there are so many other deserving students. It was a very pleasant surprise and was uplifting and in a sense, very inspiring,” Sinha said.

Currently writing his thesis on oil price volatility and the adoption of renewable energy, Sinha wants to work in designing, implementing and managing clean energy projects in developing countries after graduation.

“I want to work in the field of clean energy. I am interested in working specifically within developing countries on medium to large-scale clean energy projects. I want to structure, design and look for ways to finance these projects,” he said.

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