Coalition Language Representatives

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Surendra Gambhir, Ph.D., was a distinguished member of the South Asian Studies Department at the University of Pennsylvania for more than three decades (1973-2008). He holds a Ph.D. in Sociolinguistics from Penn, and his fieldwork has extended across many countries - Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Mauritius, Fiji, India, and the United States. His research has focused on the language preservation and loss of languages in various communities in India's diaspora. Studies in language-contact situations by many other scholars have benefited from his model of analysis in the study of the koineization process in theoretical linguistics. He is the author of eight books and over one hundred research articles published as chapters in books, encyclopedias, and national and international journals. His recent and relevant books include Story of Hindi in India's Diaspora (2017), Business Hindi Online (2015) for the federal government of the United States, and Bhaashaa Chintan (2007), a collection of articles in Hindi on the sociolinguistic aspect of Hindi. Recent book chapters include "The Indian Diaspora: Language Maintenance and Loss," "Linguistic Relationships: Bhojpuri and Standard Hindi – A View from the Western Hemisphere" (2014), "Journey of Hindi in the United States" (2014) in Handbook of Heritage, Community, and Native American Languages in the United States, "Maintenance and Vitality of Hindi in the United States" (2014) in the special issue on Language Vitality, Heritage Language Journal , and "What Does One Need to Get up to Level 4" (2006) in the Journal of Distinguished Language Studies.

In addition to being a visiting professor at many universities, he has been a consultant to many institutions including the National Foreign Language Center, Center for Applied Linguistics, Temple University, the University of Massachusetts, Kean University, and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. His contributions to the field of language pedagogy are many. He was the Chair of the Language Committee (1998-2007) of the American Institute of Indian Studies, under whose auspices he directed thirteen language programs in India. He has authored and co-authored three books for teaching Hindi as a foreign language. He was a member of the STARTALK National Advisory Committee and has directed two STARTALK programs for Hindi and continues to be a consultant to two. He has been a keynote speaker at many international conferences in Prague, Mauritius, India, and the United States. He is the recipient of many honors and awards; the most recent was the President of India award in 2012 for his contributions to the field of Indic research around the world.

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Ashok Ojha is a New Jersey-based journalist and teacher, where he manages two non-profit organizations, Yuva Hindi Sansthan and Hindi Sangam Foundation, both dedicated to promotion of Hindi language in the U.S. and beyond. Well-versed in national standards and best practices in curriculum instruction appropriate for U.S. Schools, Ashok is a K-12 certified teacher for social studies.

He worked as a full-time Hindi journalist, script writer, and documentary producer in India prior to his immigration to the United States in 1996, where he was enrolled in the International Affairs program at New York University. He continued to report on current affairs for publications and journals in the U.S. and India. In January 2017, he produced and din)rected a series of short videos on Citizenship and Social Justice’ for a New York University project.

As the coordinator of the International Hindi Conference, U.S., he collaborated with scholars from a number of leading universities, including New York University (NYU), Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), to organize three International Hindi Conferences in the U.S. at NYU (2014), Rutgers (2015), the Consulate General of India, New York (2016). He is collaborating with the Consulate General of India, New York for holding the Fifth International Hindi Conference, September 21-23, 2018 (http://www.hindiconferenceamericas.com). The conference will be hosted by the Consulate General of India, New York.

Since 2010, Ashok has been awarded U.S. government funding for directing STARTALK Hindi Programs. Trained as a Hindi teacher at the 2009 UPenn STARTALK Teacher Program, he directed the STARTALK program for Kean University students (2010, 2011) followed by YHS STARTALK Hindi programs at Bensalem (2012), Hatfield (2013), and Harleysville, PA (2014-17). He has been awarded three STARTALK grants to direct the Sangam-Franklin STARTALK Hindi Program since 2016. This program is held at Franklin High School in collaboration with Franklin Township School District, New Jersey. In 2018, Ashok directed two summer programs in Pennsylvania and New Jersey-YHS STARTALK Hindi Program, June 18-July 6, at Pennbrook Middle School, North Wales, PA; and Sangam-Franklin STARTALK Hindi Program, July 16-August 2, at Franklin High School.

Ashok taught English as a foreign language in Yongan, Fujian, China in 2012. He has earned two bachelor degrees—one from NYU (2001), U.S., and from Magadh University, Bodh Gaya, India (1971).

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Bhavya Singh is an instructional technology specialist, Hindi/Urdu language educator, and resourceful lifelong learner who values teamwork, collaboration, and cross-functional engagements to deliver target objectives in instructional design and language education for virtual and blended learning. She is also a Hindi/Urdu language professional development facilitator for the California Language Teacher Association.



Mamta Tripathi is the co-founder and principal of Hindi Language Academy in New Jersey. Applying 21st century pedagogy for Hindi learning via the World Readiness Standards is her passion, which led her to conceive and co-found the Hindi Language Academy in 2019. In 2008, after her first formal training in Hindi teaching through STARTALK, she started a Hindi language program in her community, Montgomery Hindi Pathshala, which now operates as Montgomery Hindi School.

Mamta is a native speaker of Hindi, with ACTFL Superior level rating and has been teaching Hindi in community-based weekend schools and in STARTALK Hindi language immersion programs since 2008. She is trained by ACTFL in conducting Oral Proficiency Interviews. She has co-authored four Hindi books for beginner level students. She leads a specialized program for high school students to prepare them for the State Seal of Biliteracy and the Global Seal of Biliteracy in Hindi. The program leverages students’ prior exposure to culture and their heritage languages to quickly advance them toward higher levels on the ACTFL proficiency scale. She also trains emerging Hindi teachers in effective and research-based language teaching pedagogy. Using educational technology tools to maximize student engagement is of special interest to her. She is a reflective practitioner with a growth mindset. She regularly hosts and presents in webinars, conferences, and workshops to bring awareness of the benefits of language learning and making students college and career ready through Hindi language instruction. She has done translation work with the New Jersey Department of Education, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the New York City Census 2020.

Mamta strongly believes that Leadership and Learning are indispensable to each other. In order to keep her pedagogy and leadership skills current, she actively participates in professional development training and workshops conducted at esteemed universities and research centers, including New York University, Columbia University, UCLA, Kean University, Stanford University, CARLA and CAL.

She has a Masters degree in Hindi Pedagogy from Kean University, United States, and a Masters degree in Biochemistry from Lucknow University, India.

Mamta has a deep interest in the science and technology embedded in India’s rich culture and heritage. She has been residing in New Jersey with her family since 1996. When she is free, you may find her listening to Hindi podcasts, poetry, and stories. She also loves to go on hikes and to the beach with her family and friends.

Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2019