nikitha gopal

Nikitha Gopal

Second Year Master of Public Policy Student

UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

Having lived in four different countries, Nikitha considers herself a truly international individual. She was born in Melbourne, Australia and lived there for twelve years before she moved to Bangalore, India. From there, she moved to Vancouver, Canada to study Sociology and Economics at the University of British Columbia. Each of these countries have become a part of her identity, but India will always be her favorite.   

After Nikitha graduated with her B.A., she worked at a small accounting firm and then an insurance company, building work experience and universally-applicable knowledge and skillsets. Having done this, she began her Master of Public Policy at UCLA to re-focus her attention on her true career goals. Nikitha is passionate about international and economic development and is looking for opportunities to grow her network in this field. Ultimately, she hopes to work at one of the large international development agencies, or at a private firm that consults on development-related projects.

Over the Summer, she had the opportunity to work with the L.A. Mayor’s Office of International Affairs on the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the city of Los Angeles. She gained in-depth knowledge of the SDGs and the challenges countries face for their implementation, as well as a strong understanding of the potential of the private sector to contribute to them. Alongside her internship, Nikitha worked as a Graduate Student Researcher on the Blue Economy project, collecting and consolidating research on small island developing nations (SIDS), for student groups to use during the year for their applied policy projects. Consequently, her group was selected to work on the waste management project. The group will be conducting extensive literature analysis, visiting the islands, and interviewing stakeholders, in order to develop a framework for sustainable waste management practices on SIDS. Nikitha is also working at the Southern California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Center, and currently researching the effect of the proposed public charge rules on immigrants.

Nikitha is excited to work with her talented colleagues and the Waitt Foundation on the Blue Prosperity project. She hopes that their work will have a significant and real impact in addressing the environmental problems affecting SIDS.