Deepa Sharma

Co-Chair, Traditional & Electronic Media

 

Deepa Sharma is an experienced public agency lawyer with a passion for public service.  As an attorney, she provides advice to agency staff and officials on all matters facing public entities, including on cutting-edge constitutional law and land use issues, as well as affordable housing matters.  In addition to providing advice and counsel, Ms. Sharma is a skilled litigator, and has secured numerous victories for her clients in the courtroom.  

 

Since 2011, Ms. Sharma has served on the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party's Asian/ Pacific Islander Caucus, where she aids the Party's efforts to reach out to minority voters and increase the numbers of APIs running for office.  She has also served as policy aide in the California State Legislature where she helped pass legislation and built coalitions around the members' legislative priorities. A proud Californian, Ms. Sharma was inspired to enter the political arena to encourage voter participation and increase representation for women and communities of color in the decision-making process.

Deepa Sharma

Co-Chair, Traditional & Electronic Media

 

Deepa Sharma is an experienced public agency lawyer with a passion for public service.  As an attorney, she provides advice to agency staff and officials on all matters facing public entities, including on cutting-edge constitutional law and land use issues, as well as affordable housing matters.  In addition to providing advice and counsel, Ms. Sharma is a skilled litigator, and has secured numerous victories for her clients in the courtroom.  

 

Shivam Patel

Social Media (Twitter)

 

Shivam Patel is a student at San Jose State University majoring in Business Management Information Systems and minoring in Public Policy. He currently helps with communications for South Asians for Biden. Previously, he worked as an intern for Joe Biden's presidential campaign at the National Headquarters, and at his student government studying, pushing, and advocating for legislation affecting students at higher education institutes. In his spare time, he enjoys watching movies, baking, and catching up with friends. 

Ruchir Bakshi

Traditional Media

 

Civilian History: Ruchir moved to the U.S. while in his late teens, with his parents, all as Permanent Residents. Within a week of moving to the U.S., Ruchir started working at gas stations and convenience stores to gain financial independence while supporting the family. The need to work and to settle down delayed his college education but provided him the opportunity to join the U.S. Army Reserves in the mid-90s. Ruchir and his parents became U.S. citizens around the same time as well.

 

After completing Army basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, he came back home to continue civilian work and concurrently serve in the Reserves. Later, he moved to Arizona, teaching fellow military members what he had learned from his experiences being deployed in the war zones. After marriage, life stabilized enough for him to pursue his incomplete studies, and with his wife Dhara's support, he ended up earning a master’s degree in Management and HR. They have two daughters, Priya, and Anika. The family currently resides in the Washington DC area, where Ruchir works as a Senior Consultant to the Federal Government in the field of e-learning design and development. 

 

Army History: Immediately after the attacks on 9/11/01, the U.S. Army individually deployed Ruchir to Afghanistan (AFG) and Iraq (IZ), and other locations in the Mid-East and elsewhere, under Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He spent many months conducting military intelligence (MI) work in combat zones in the southern AFG area and also in and around the Baghdad city area, in IZ. Working in conjunction with security agencies from many countries, Ruchir gathered information from enemy combatants responding to the tactical battlefield, as well as national-level strategic information needs. Ruchir was also able to work in other countries in Mid-East and elsewhere to conduct extensive intelligence collection and force-protection operations using linguistic, cultural, and MI expertise. For his service, Ruchir received multiple awards to include the Army Combat Action Badge, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Joint Achievement Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, and others.

 

Other Activities: 

Board member of the Howard County Public School Systems' Social Services Advisory (SSA).

Board member of the South Asian Military Family Support Network (SAMFSN).

Podcaster on the topic of "PTSD and Vedanta," available wherever podcasts are available. He also maintains a blog on the same topic at www.ptsdvedanta.com

Founder of the Samvedna Community Support Group, LLC, assisting with veterans' PTSD issues, specifically focusing on South Asian-American veterans. 

Co-founder of the Indian Classical Music School of Columbia, LLC.

Keya Balar

Traditional Media

Keya Balar is on the Traditional Media team for South Asians for Biden. With six years of experience in public relations, she focuses on pinpointing the latest news angles to drive media interest and coverage. Previously, she worked on the communications team for a gubernatorial campaign in New Jersey. Keya received the Richard D. Lane Memorial Award for academic merit in journalism from Rutgers University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and media studies. She is based in New Jersey.

Aksa Asgher

Social Media (Instagram)

 

Aksa Asgher is a social media specialist who has worked in various industries in the world of marketing. From agency life in New York City to assist with NGOs and start-ups, Aksa is passionate about bringing brand awareness to light through strategic tactics and using the latest marketing trends.

 

Aksa currently serves as the Media Director for Poligon Education Fund, a national, non-profit organization that aims to increase American Muslim participation on Capitol Hill. Inspired by her work there, Aksa has joined the South Asian for Biden team to aid with their social media efforts with a focus on Instagram growth and engagement. 

 

Aksa holds a BS from Rochester Institute of Technology in New Media Marketing with a minor in Public Relations and Advertising and received an MBA from La Salle University specializing in Marketing. 

Mayur Patel

Social Media (Instagram)

Mayur Patel is on the South Asians for Biden communications team, focusing specifically on its social media efforts for Instagram growth and engagement. Mayur was born and raised in New Jersey but is currently a University Honors Program student at Northeastern University, majoring in political science and economics and minoring in data science on the pre-law track.

 

Currently, Mayur is fairly active on campus as a member of Northeastern University's International Relations Council, where he participates in mock international diplomatic situations and organizes conferences for 800+ high school students in the Boston area to do this as well. He is also apart of TEDxNortheasternU, where he helps execute local, self-organized events that bring people together to share their diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. In his spare time, Mayur enjoys catching up with friends, reading, biking, and baking.

Vinny Venkat

Team Member

Vinny Venkat is helping with communications for South Asians for Biden. He is passionate in expanding the Democratic electorate, and sees Twitter as an invaluable tool to get South Asians excited for Vice President Biden and motivated to volunteer for the former Vice President. Vinny is from Northern Virginia, where he volunteered for Democrats when they successfully flipped the state legislature for the first time in 20 years.

 

He graduated from the University of Maryland and is currently in the University of Arizona School of Law, and in his spare time enjoys reading about policy, running, and watching TV. 

Zainab Khan

Team Member

Zainab Khan is happy to be a member of the South Asians for Biden Communications team. She believes the use of platforms like Instagram and Twitter is essential in engaging the South Asian youth to social and political issues while also raising awareness for what is at stake in the upcoming election.  She is a rising junior at Rutgers University where she is double majoring in Political Science and History and is also getting her master’s degree from the Graduate School of Education.

Currently, Zainab is an active staff member as well as the External Events Coordinator for the Institute for Domestic and International Affairs, dedicated to engaging high school students in global and domestic affairs through both simulations of Congress as well the United Nations. Zainab is also a proud member of the Douglass Residential College where she has joined a dynamic, supportive, and cohesive community of women who focus on women’s success and leadership. Some of her other hobbies include reading, creative writing, freelance blogging, a cappella music, and musical theatre.   

Zeerak Chishti

Team Member

Zeerak Chishti is a part of the communications team on South Asians for Biden where he focuses his work around maintaining visual appeal and awareness on social media, specifically on the Instagram platform. Presently, Zeerak is a student at Rutgers Business School, working for a double major in finance and business analytics with information technology.

 

On campus, Zeerak is an active member in Phi Chi Theta, a national professional business fraternity, where he volunteers his time to provide resources and networking opportunities to new students. Additionally, Zeerak is a member of Rutgers Raag, a South Asian a cappella team that spreads awareness of South Asian cultures through singing performances. Off campus, Zeerak uses his free time to paint and design his own artwork and also manage a personal instagram account where he shares his pieces. His other hobbies include graphic design, playing the saxophone, and photoshop.

Anjali Mehrotra

Team Member

Anjali Mehrotra was born and raised in Calcutta, India. She came to New Jersey to pursue higher education and received a Bachelor of Engineering and a Master of Science from Stevens Institute of Technology in the field of Computer Science. After seven years as a software consultant, she obtained her Certification in Digital Design from Parsons School of Design and started her own freelance design business.  

 

Anjali worked on campaigns for Democratic Women candidates for President, Congress and State Assembly before running herself for the office of Borough Council member in 2018. She is an elected Committee Member of the Union County Democratic Committee, elected Municipal Chair for the Mountainside Democratic Committee and Union County Director for the South Asian American Caucus of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. Anjali earned her certification in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University and serves on the Union County Advisory Board on the Status of Minorities. 

 

Through her experiences, Anjali strongly identifies as a feminist. As President of the National Organization for Women of New Jersey and on the National Racial Justice Task Force for NOW, she is an advocate for women of all ethnic backgrounds across the socio-economic spectrum, pushing for legislation in support of women’s rights and opportunities.  

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