WALTHAM, MA — Devika Mahadevan ’00, a community activist who leads a large social service organization in her native India, received Brandeis University’s 2010 Alumni Achievement Award.
Presented annually since 1988, the Alumni Achievement Award recognizes alumni who have made distinguished contributions to their professions or chosen fields of endeavor. It represents the highest form of University recognition bestowed exclusively on alumni.
Mahadevan shared the stage with Tim Morehouse ’00, another 2010 winner and a silver medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Mahadevan and Morehouse are the youngest alumni ever to win the award. They were honored during their 10th Reunion on June 12.
Mahadevan serves on the board of directors of Mumbai Mobile Creches, which provides early childhood care and education to more than 6,000 children of construction workers in India. She served as chief executive of the organization for four years.
Before joining Mumbai Mobile Creches, she served as program manager for the Society for the Promotion of Area Resources (SPARC), working closely with another distinguished Brandeis alumnus, Sundar Burra ’71. SPARC works in 70 cities in India to help provide housing, infrastructure, and credit services for the urban poor.
This past February, Burra and Mahadevan hosted Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz during his first visit to India. On a memorable day touring Mumbai, Burra and Mahadevan introduced Reinharz to their organizations and the complexities of slum life in Mumbai. Mahadevan has been an active leader and supporter of the University’s Brandeis-India Initiative.
Mahadevan attended Brandeis as the recipient of a full scholarship through the Wien International Scholarship Program. The president of the Intercultural Club at Brandeis, she graduated with a degree in sociology with minors in economics and women’s studies.
In the summer after her junior year, she received an Ethics Center Student Fellowship (now Sorensen Fellowship, named after JFK adviser Ted Sorensen) from Brandeis’s International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life. She worked for the United Nations Development Fund for Women in Beijing, which led her to pursue a career in the social development sector.