Author Archives: Ashutosh Mishra

Cover Letter for amfAR Internship

Ashutosh Mishra | 378 Mourning Dove Drive, Newark, DE 19711 | (302) 383-5352

March 6, 2016


The Foundation of AIDS Research

Washington, DC, 20004


Dear Rosenfield Fellow Evaluator,

I am writing to express my interest in helping your team at amfAR to improve AIDS health policy as an Allan Rosenfield intern. When I learned of the program through the Gillings School of Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill, I was impressed that its structure would directly allow me to contribute my own skills to improve AIDS policy. By researching, drafting, and advocating for AIDS policy with your policy team, I seek to further develop my abilities in the health policymaking process while leaving a positive impact on HIV/AIDS patient care.

I am currently a rising Health Policy Management and Political Science major, and have cultivated my interests in social inequality and health policy implementation through coursework in AIDS, immigration policy, and American government. I have acquired an understanding of AIDS in America and Congressional bill drafting that will allow me to better draft and advocate policy with your team. Through my immigration policy course, I gained experience as a policy advocate by working with the class to research and draft legislation for comprehensive immigration reform.

Additionally, I believe that my history of focusing on tuberculosis treatment will allow me to be an effective asset to your policy team. My experience with the process of analyzing data on patient feedback and outlining solutions of community outreach taught me to tackle problems from the ground up. As an independent researcher, I gained experience interviewing patients, creating my own methods of data evaluation, and extrapolating from my analysis to address the problem of TB treatment defaulters in India. As a research assistant for a doctoral student investigating MDR-TB treatment adherence in Peru, I am applying tests of statistical significance to identify key causes of policy failure and address the containment of drug resistance. I hope to translate my skills in tuberculosis research and policy to HIV/AIDS in America.

To quote Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” My past experiences have equipped me with a skill set to best assist your team to improve AIDS care. I hope that I may change the quality of AIDS care for others by standing on the shoulders of your foundation.

Thank you for your consideration,

Ashutosh Mishra

American Foundation for AIDS Research Internship Summary

Ashu Mishra

I am looking to apply for the Allan Rosenfield Internship at the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR). The internship site will be in the heart of Washington D.C, and is extremely competitive with only six total graduate and undergraduate acceptances. Despite the competition, I believe that I have a chance at acceptance due to my prior tuberculosis policy research in India. This internship offers me an incredible opportunity to step into the working world of American health policy, and will allow me to directly impose political pressure on key politicians to improve HIV/AIDS management.

During the internship, I will be involved in HIV/AIDS policy writing, research, and advocacy from the first day. The policy writing consists of conducting my own original writing and research related to domestic and global HIV/AIDS epidemics. I will have the chance to co-author and publish policy papers on specific issues such as treatment eligibility, especially for uninsured Americans. My work will also be published by the D.C. Public Policy office.

After co-drafting the policy bills, I will then work with graduate student fellows and other undergraduate interns to advocate the decided policy to members of Congress and their staff. Getting a politician to propose a bill in Congress is the final step in having any policy passed. The policy can be directed to both state and federal politicians to propose in their constituencies. I feel that amFAR’s focus on advocacy provides a rare and invaluable opportunity to make connections to professionals working in fields I aspire to enter. Lastly, I will also be responsible for regularly organizing meetings and conferences with amFAR advisors, and participating in community briefings.

The Allan Rosenfield Internship lasts for three months and constitutes full time employment with pay. Start and end dates are negotiable. To be eligible, I must be an undergraduate student with good academic standing – which I am so far. The application requires a resume including GPA from college, a writing sample (no more than 2000 words), a cover letter describing my interest in AIDS policy, and scores from any relevant standardized tests.

Some strengths of this program are that it provides me unparalleled health policy-making experience, and it allows me to try my hand at policy drafting and advocacy. It also pays me, and will allow me to get critical guidance and connections that I will need to progress in health policy.

The only major weakness of the program is that it is located in D.C, so I will have to use most of the payment to provide for my housing. The work itself is ideal for my prospective career path, and D.C. is likely to remain the main site of my internships and jobs.

I hope to use this internship as a stepping-stone to international health policy work. The leaders at amFAR have experience crafting health policy abroad, and I aim to use their network to progress in various policy areas. The Allan Rosenfield internship provides the ideal summer opportunity for my continued growth and field experience, and I hope to grow in character as well as academically through my work.

El Nino – The Bad Weather Mastermind

IN SPACE - In this handout photo provided by NASA, Hurricane Patricia is seen from the International Space Station. The hurricane made landfall on the Pacfic coast of Mexico on October 23. (Photo by Scott Kelly/NASA via Getty Images)

IN SPACE – In this handout photo provided by NASA, Hurricane Patricia is seen from the International Space Station. The hurricane made landfall on the Pacfic coast of Mexico on October 23. (Photo by Scott Kelly/NASA via Getty Images)

Ashu Mishra

After bombarding the Americas with drenching rain, heavy floods, and millions of dollars in damage, Hurricane Patricia finally crashed into the Pacific Coast of Mexico on October 20th of last year.

Hurricane Patricia mirrored current records for hurricane intensity across the board, and finally weighed in as the second strongest hurricane to ever hit the Pacific Coast. But its unusual intensity isn’t due to chance. In fact, El Niño related weather conditions set just the right conditions for Patricia to build up her strength. So what exactly is an El Niño, and what does it do? More specifically, how will it affect us?

According to most weather channels, the current 2015 El Niño is like a giant squid – we know it exists, but we have no clear idea of how it behaves or affects its environment. On the contrary, science quite clearly understands El Niño patterns, and can even warn people how to prepare for its potentially devastating effects.

An El Niño is a slightly abstract thing to try and understand. It is a climate condition that takes place when Pacific Ocean currents push warm surface water on the Asian side to the American side. When the warm surface water moves away on the Asian side, colder water rises up to take its place. At the end of the day, the ocean ends up with a warm side and a cool side. Because of the ocean surface temperature changes on both coasts, this directly changes the temperature of the air above the water.

So how are we affected by El Niños? Research shows that the El Niño’s effects include the formation of drought in some areas and excessive precipitation in others. M. J. McPhaden, a marine environmental researcher, explains that the changing air temperatures are able to move around atmospheric pressure zones. Simply said, the hot air on the American side rises while the cold air on the Asian side sinks. This moves around large air pockets that are known to cause rain.

This research is critical for California’s drought forecasting. By studying the strength of El Niño’s, we can see that strong ones have a tendency to bring above average precipitation to California. Since the current El Niño is one shaping up to be one of the strongest on record, the state can begin preparations to best collect the increase in rainfall that could potentially end the five-year drought.

Conversely, Pacific Island nations are facing a serious drought that takes a toll on their agriculture-based lifestyles. In addition to the millions of people having fewer freshwater and food supplies, they also face severe social and health problems that stem from the current El Niño. Because freshwater is harder to access during droughts, people in these developing countries often drink contaminated water to survive. This leads to large outbreaks of gastrointestinal diseases. Research also indicates that damaged economies and declining living conditions during El Niño years result in more violence and fewer children enrolled in schools.

According the research of a group of scientists from Hawaii, Taiwan, and Australia, El Niño can also cause intensified cyclones. These researchers tracked down the data from cyclones that occurred during past El Niño years, and showed that these they have stronger winds than cyclones that occur in non-El Niño years. They explain this relationship by showing that El Niño ocean wind currents cause more extreme air pressure shifts. This seems to explain why Hurricane Patricia was so strong.

So why is this El Niño more intense than previous ones? Researcher Michael Lipin explains that global warming could explain the conundrum. He states that, due to the rising temperatures of the atmosphere, water evaporation has increased. The movement of water rising into the air generates more energy to power severe storms.

Since humans can’t control weather patterns, all we can do is to prepare ourselves to minimize the El Niño’s destruction. In order to prepare, we must first refine our ability to understand the exact effects each specific weather system will cause.

New science and technology has allowed for researchers to better understand how exactly El Niño can impact global weather patterns in the long run. One very important development is NASA’s new focus on using its weather satellites to track ocean height and surface currents to predict the strength of El Niños. As researchers get better at using these tools and analyzing data, they can one day alert governments to prepare for the coming droughts, enhanced fire seasons, and harmful ground-level pollutant levels.

By understanding El Niños, we can spread awareness of its power so communities can organize and prepare for its effects. Perhaps, as in California’s case, they can direct the power of weather systems to benefit the people. Regardless, El Niños give rise to an interesting question for the scientific community: How can we turn research into policies and practices that benefit humanity?

El Nino Weather Impacts

Dear Mrs. Boyd,

Neil Armstrong once said, “Research is creating new knowledge.” My name is Ashu Mishra and I am interested in helping your journal make new knowledge accessible and comprehendible for your readers.

According to news media reporting, the current El Niño is like a giant squid – we know it exists, but we have no clear idea how it behaves and affects its environment. On the contrary, science quite clearly understands El Niño patterns, and can even warn people how to prepare for its specific effects. Given the general public’s confusion regarding the ongoing El Niño and its upcoming impacts on global weather patterns, I hope you will find my article to be both timely and intriguing.

So what exactly is an El Niño? It is climate condition caused by warm surface ocean water on the eastern Pacific Ocean to move to the western side due to ocean currents. This causes deeper and colder water to rise to the surface on the eastern side and results in a surface water temperature difference. The water changes the air temperature, which causes shifts in wind patterns. Research indicates that the El Niño’s effects include the formation of drought and excessive precipitation, intensified cyclones, and shifting air temperature patterns. These directly impact food and water supplies, especially for countries experiencing drought, which in turn lead to economic and sociopolitical repercussions.

In the full article, I will explore the coming weather effects of the 2015 El Niño using research from previous occurrences and early trends from the current one. I aim to clarify the haze encompassing the basics of El Niño behavior while utilizing research that tests influences on rainfall and cyclones. Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Pacific Coast, was a strong indicator of the current El Niño’s power. Additionally, I aim to bridge the gap between environmental impact and human day-to-day life to create a better sense of awareness and preparedness for the public.

I am currently a student researcher on health policy in South American regions with the Gillings School of Public Health at UNC. El Niño weather patterns heavily affect the people living in the region of my study, and predicting future weather effects can allow the public to prepare for the coming hardships. Given that the El Niño will impede with human health care, I find it incredibly important for societies to be able to understand and predict adverse weather effects. Moreover, millions of people in the Americas will experience not only weather changes, but also the sociopolitical and economic impacts of the weather system.

I hope you find my topic interesting and I look forward to joining and contributing to your journal. Feel free to contact me by email at Thank you for your consideration and I hope to speak to you soon.


Best Regards,

Ashu Mishra


Annotated Bibliography

(Contains indentation and formatting errors due to entry system of posts)

Annotated Bibliography:

Annamalai, H., Keener, V., Widlansky, M. J., & Hafner, J. (2015, December). ScholarSpace at University of Hawaii at Manoa: El Niño Strengthens In The Pacific : Preparing For The Impacts Of Drought. Retrieved January 28, 2016, from

This article uses evidence from past El Niño’s to identify upcoming affects on Pacific Island nations. It identifies consequences of both the wet and dry periods caused by El Niño weather patterns with an emphasis on tying together environmental and sociopolitical impacts. The El Niño’s effects on issues such as food and freshwater supply, storm damage, and human health are outlined in detail. Finally, the article describes methods of minimizing the weather’s impact on human wellbeing.


Lipin, M. (2016). Global Warming, El Nino Combine To Fuel Extreme World Weather. Lanham: Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc. Retrieved from

In his article, author Micheal Lipin explains how the combination of global warming and the El Nino effect cause extreme weather conditions in various parts of the world. Lipin states that due to the rising temperatures of the atmosphere, evaporation have increased, therefore generating more energy to power severe storms. Additionally, wildlife particularly the Arctic polar bears have taken a toll because of the decrease in habitat space caused by the effects of global warming and El Nino.


Mcphaden, M. J. (2015). Playing Hide And Seek With El Niño. Nature Climate Change Nature Climate Change, 5(9), 791-795. Retrieved January 28, 2016.

This commentary provides details into predicting the formation of El Niño events. The article primarily focuses on describing the natural occurrences that result in the formation of El Niño events, along with identifying early signs that could lead to its prediction. It uses science-based logic to identify the direct impact of warming waters on global and regional rainfall. It also describes the El Niño’s impact on winds. Finally, it emphasizes shortcomings in the ability of scientists to accurately predict when these weather occurrences will take place, especially provided that it failed to take place in 2014, when conditions were more optimal for El Niño formation than in early 2015.


Moon, I., Kim, S., & Wang, C. (2015). El Niño And Intense Tropical Cyclones. Nature, 526(7575). Retrieved from

This is an article consisting of two studies – the first of which is a response to another study by Jin et al, and the second is a response by Moon to his first study. The two studies debate the aspect of El Niño caused ocean heat contents and their ability to influence Pacific cyclone intensity. They have both identified a clear causation of El Niño’s intensifying cyclones, but they debate and edit the physical mechanisms by which they do so.


NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center; NASA Studying 2015 El Nino Event As Never Before. (2015). Defense & Aerospace Week, 404. Retrieved from

This article outlines the broad, far-reaching impacts of the El Nino effect, a warm current that causes the weather patterns around the world to shift. It begins with a focus on NASA’s ability to better study the effects of El Niño, and then continues to discuss some of those effects. The author explains how the fires in Indonesia are connected to water current. It shows how the Earth as a whole is a system and there are many factors involved. The article also describes how the El Nino will affect the ground level ozone layer, which has an immense immediate impact on human health.

Autism reading

The previous night’s reading consisted of stories about the development of autism awareness in America through both stories of individual cases and through a more general lens describing the American society’s changing views. We began reading an anecdote on an early researcher who investigated mental illness in a time when autistic individuals were called “idiots” and were denied many basic human rights. The article described how a scientist opened a famous school to educate the blind and those with mental illness, as he believed in the idea that all people are teachable.