Kate Little '19 at Lady Doak College



Vanessa Champagne '13

press to zoom

Vanessa Champagne '13

press to zoom

Vanessa Champagne '13 at the Taj Majah with student Bianca and her brother

press to zoom

Vanessa Champagne '13 judging the annual Rangoli contest

press to zoom

Stephanie Mora Hernandez '13 teaching Spanish to her students

press to zoom

The campus of Lady Doak College

press to zoom

Stephanie Mora Hernandez '13 with students

press to zoom

“I am grateful for this opportunity to be with the amazing women and students of Lady Doak College. I am thankful for their candor, vision, and hardwork. For the remainder of the time I spend with them, here in Madurai, I hope to be able to give them half as much as they have given to me this past year.”

-Vanessa Champagne, Fellow to Lady Doak College 2015-2017


"I have been fortunate enough to experience Asia with a community who I can now have the pleasure of knowing in the U.S. I am proud of who we, the Shansi Fellows, have become. I know this experience has made me a far more generous, open and warm person and I hope to hold onto that no matter where I live."

–Kelly Lloyd, Fellow to Lady Doak College 2009-2011

This two-year Fellowship offers the Shansi Fellow opportunities to learn and use skills in leadership, negotiation, logistical planning, management, and international understanding at Lady Doak College, a women’s college situated in southern India. A self-motivated individual who works well with people will find the assignment exciting and worthwhile. From this site, the Fellow may also travel and experience the culture of India while joining a warm and welcoming local community.


About Madurai

Madurai, one of the oldest cities in the world, is located in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. With a population of over one million, the city is the center of Tamil language and culture. The ancient Meenakshi Amman Temple is the center point from which the main streets radiate outward. Madurai is a whirlwind of bright colors with busy winding streets filled with bicycles, cars, pedestrians, countless markets, and food vendors.​


About Lady Doak College

Lady Doak College, the first women's college in Madurai, was founded in 1948; Oberlin Shansi's relationship with Lady Doak began in 1951. LDC’s 4,200 students choose from 19 academic departments for their majors, from Business Administration to Zoology. The institution focuses on developing young women through higher education to be socially, spiritually and intellectually mature, and empowered. Lady Doak was established as a Christian college, and while many of the faculty members follow that faith, the diverse student body is drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds.


The Fellowship

At Lady Doak the Fellow acts as the Manager of Student Programs of the International Studies Centre (ISC), a resource center promoting international engagement and intercultural consciousness among students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The Fellow works with faculty coordinators and a student steering committee, and creates and leads a wide variety of programs and events, supplementing both the academic and extracurricular programs on campus. The center hosts numerous events, including movies, workshops, and performances, with the goal of building community and creating a safe space for wide-ranging discussions. In addition, the Fellow helps to support international and study abroad students, and visiting scholars from all over the world when they visit the college. Traditionally Lady Doak has only accepted cis female candidates. Interested trans women are encouraged to come to the office and speak with Shansi staff. 


The Fellow also has many opportunities to teach and plan additional activities and programs. In the past, Fellows have taught non-credit intensive short-term courses, such as Spanish, Japanese, and documentary filmmaking, and have participated in the college’s service learning and community outreach efforts. Outside the college, Fellows have studied dance and cooking, engaged in volunteer work, and undertaken advanced language studies, among many other things.

What does a strong candidate for the Fellowship to Lady Doak look like?

The ideal candidate will be passionate about community building and fostering dialog, and enthusiastic about engaging with the close-knit and supportive community of students and teachers at Lady Doak. It is important to be independent, curious, and enthusiastic about making meaningful connections with people who come from different cultural backgrounds, and to be motivated to listen well and act as a resource for the community. A deep interest in Indian culture is valuable but there are numerous other possibilities for academic and experiential learning at this site. This unique Fellowship has had a deep impact on past Fellows, and past Fellows have pursued degrees in studio art, videography, and social work, and careers in business, academia, and international relations, among others.


The Fellow at Lady Doak lives in the Oberlin Building, which houses three guest apartments and the International Study Centre and is built around an open courtyard. The Fellow's apartment consists of two fairly large rooms with a small kitchen and bath, including a western toilet. It is equipped with air-conditioning, cooking supplies, and standard Indian appliances. There is also a washing machine right outside of the apartment. It's roomy, quiet, and gives you easy access to the campus and the campus community and, conversely, gives faculty, staff, and students easy access to you. 

Language Training

The Fellow will have intensive language training in Tamil at a language school during the summer before joining Lady Doak College at the end of August. A stipend for ongoing language training throughout the Fellowship is available.



The LDC Fellow starts working in late August-early September, the halfway mark of the first semester. This arrangement allows the Fellow to take six to eight weeks of language instruction before starting her duties at Lady Doak College.