PhD in Cultural Studies

Aparna Shastri

Aparna Shastri


I am originally from a city called Indore, located in central India. I moved to the US in 2019 and have lived in Clemson, South Carolina before moving to Fairfax, Virginia. 

What is your favorite part about being a Mason student?

I love the diversity in student population here at Mason. The proximity to Washington, DC is also one of the factors that lured me to Mason as there are many cultural events, interesting history, and places to see around here. The place has a welcoming vibe to it. 

What is your favorite part about your degree program?

I’m happy that I find flexibility in each of my classes to work on what I’m interested in while also learning the grounding concepts of the field. I like that the program combines so many subfields within the humanities and allows students to explore their way around and develop new research interests along with existing ones. The breadth of scholarly avenues and out-of-class opportunities to engage with diverse research areas in something I really appreciate about the program. 

What is the one part of your degree program that has had the most impact on you?

I am finding myself willing to take up new challenges and move out of my comfort zone, which is something I’ve always aimed to do. I think being in a community of supportive professors and super helpful, warm, and welcoming peers in the program has made me increasingly comfortable taking on new roles. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope to see myself with a doctorate and in an academic career. I'd like to think I'd be doing something that excites me about my work every day.