Board of Directors

Amber Abbas [President] is an Associate Professor of History at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia where she teaches courses on World History, South Asia, South Asian America and Oral History Methodology. She completed her Ph.D. in South Asian History at the University of Texas at Austin where she trained in oral history training with Martha Norkunas. Amber’s oral history and archival research focuses on the period of transition associated with the 1947 Independence and Partition of India that ultimately resulted in the creation of three separate states: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. She served as co-chair of the Academic Council of South Asian American Digital Archive from 2014-2017. She serves on the OHA Education Committee and has published in South Asian History and Culture, The Appendix, and The Oral History Review. She has worked in archives and conducted oral histories in the United States, England, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.

Amit Khanna [Treasurer] is a second generation Indian American whose career has been firmly rooted in legal practice, though in a variety of settings. From 2007 through 2015, Amit was an attorney with the law firms Paul Weiss and Fenwick & West, where is practice spanned a variety of matters, with a particular focus on advising mission-driven technology companies and their investors. He then served as the inaugural Mission Investing Fellow for Eric and Wendy Schmidt's family foundation in Palo Alto where he helped build a platform for investment in early-stage enterprises focused on social, economic and environmental impact. Since early 2017, he has served as General Counsel of Knotel, a New York-based company that builds, designs and operates fully-customized flexible offices for companies across the US, Europe, Asia and South America. Amit actively advises and invests in a number of early-stage technology companies as well.

Pawan Dhingra [Secretary] is Professor of American Studies and Faculty Equity and Inclusion Officer at Amherst College, and is a former curator at the Smithsonian Institution. He is the author of award-winning books, including Life Behind the Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream and Managing Multicultural Lives: Asian American Professionals and the Challenge of Multiple Identities. His most recent is Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough. He has been published in The New York Times, CNN, and elsewhere, and has been profiled in National Public Radio, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and other venues. He is on Twitter @phdhingra1.

Fariba S. Alam a visual artist whose work is intended to stimulate dialogue and reflection on the dynamic interplay between Islamic artistic traditions and personal family archives with more present and personal inquiries of gender and belonging. Alam is a former Fulbright Fellow, with a B.A. in MESAS (Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies) from Columbia University and an M.A. in studio art/art criticism from New York University. Over the last 15 years, Alam's work has been shown at The Queens Museum, The Asia Society, Exit Art, The Museum of African Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art/Shanghai amongst other galleries and fairs in the U.S. and Asia. During the same period, she has worked as a Digital Strategist for companies such as Apple and Estee Lauder (Bobbi Brown, La Mer, Clinique, MAC and others.) Her volunteer work includes creative services for SAKHI, Groundswell, The Acid Survivors Foundation and the founding board of The South Asian Women's Creative Collective. Alam resides in Brooklyn, New York and part-time in Joshua Tree, California where she is building an artist residency.

Amy Bhatt is a guest curator at Seattle's Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). She co-curated the traveling Smithsonian exhibit Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation, and Stand Up Seattle: The Democracy Project. She received her PhD in Feminist Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA and was an Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She is the author of High-Tech Housewives: Indian IT Workers, Gendered Labor, and Transmigration (University of Washington Press, 2018) and co-author of Roots and Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific Northwest (University of Washington Press, 2013) with Nalini Iyer. She was the oral historian for the South Asian Oral History Project and is currently the co-chair of the SAADA's Academic Council. She has written for and appeared in news outlets such as NPR, The Conversation, The Society Pages, AsiaGlobal Online, The Indian Express, Quartz, and The Seattle Times.

Odessa Devi Despot, PsyD is a graduate of NYU and holds a doctoral degree in psychology from Yeshiva University. She is a staff psychologist at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and co-coordinator of diversity and inclusion planning at Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS). She is also the recipient of the 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Staff Beacon Award at RIT. Odessa's writings focus on intersectionality, immigrant culture, feminist issues, and relational psychotherapy. She has been featured in Caribbean Star newspaper, SAADA, and Brown Girl Magazine and has presented at various professional conferences in her field.

Ayshea Khan is the Asian Pacific American Community Archivist at the Austin History Center, where she works alongside community members to collaboratively collect, preserve and provide access to Austin’s vibrant Asian American history. She holds a B.S. in Cinema & Photography from Ithaca College and she received her MSIS in 2016 from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a Certified Archivist and has served in leadership positions with the Society of Southwest Archivists and Breaking Library Silos for Social Justice collective in Austin, which facilitates resource gathering, workshops, and conversations centered on creating more just library/archival/museum spaces. She has been a longtime SAADA volunteer and served as the Co-Chair for the SAADA Archivists' Collective.

Samip Mallick is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of SAADA. He was formerly the Director of the Ranganathan Center for Digital Information (RCDI) at the University of Chicago Library. Mallick holds a M.S. in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Illinois, a Bachelors degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan College of Engineering, and has done graduate work in Indian History at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. He was also previously the Assistant Bibliographer for the Southern Asia Collection at the University of Chicago Library and has worked for the South Asia and International Migration Programs at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).

Anjli Shah (she/her) has been a program associate at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation since 2019, a philanthropy dedicated to advancing health equity, where she has worked on initiatives related to diverse network building, equitable grantmaking, and inclusive innovation. She holds a BA in Molecular and Cell Biology (Neurobiology) from the University of California, Berkeley, and a MS in Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University. She is a founding member of and community organizer with Jains for Justice, where she has spearheaded voter mobilization campaigns and community conversations on racial justice. She was previously a SAADA volunteer. She is on Twitter @anjlishah17.