Nikita Simpson (2011)
In 2011 Nikita received the MLC School Prize for the highest university admissions rank. She went on to complete a degree in Social Anthropology at Cambridge University, UK and is now a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Nikita’s particular area of interest is in advocating for women’s rights across the globe. She has worked in Kathmandu, Nepal and Himachal Pradesh in India. Her undergraduate thesis was titled "That doesn’t happen here”: Sexual Violence and Female Agency in a Village in Himachal Pradesh, India for which she was awarded a Class 1 with distinction.
Her PhD involves her conducting ethnographic research in Himachal Pradesh, India on the impact of politico-economic change on women’s mental health.
Nikita focusses her research on on women’s rights and the law in contemporary India and the dissonance between the government’s rhetoric and the reality when it comes to India’s female poor. India accounts for a quarter of the world’s maternal deaths and is home to one third of the world’s poor. She has interviewed public health experts, district attorneys, judges, superintendents of police and district commissioners to explore why, while they speak of the empowerment of women as a top priority, they lack the will to make a difference on the ground.
Nikita is also currently the Joint Head of Research at the SHM Foundation1 where she leads research, scale up and evaluation of the Zumbido Health2 initiative, building digital systems of care and social support for people experiencing social isolation and stigma.
As well as being a contributing editor of the annual Kings Review magazine, Nikita is also currently the Research Coordinator at the Covid and Care Research Group at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In this role she convenes a large inter-disciplinary group of researchers to deliver rapid policy reports and academic papers for the SAGE Committee, SPI-B, Cabinet Office and Public Health England on the impact of Covid-19 on disadvantaged communities.
Nikita spoke at the 2015 MLC School Prefects’ Awards Ceremony to welcome the 2015 Prefects to their roles as leaders in the School. ‘Foster leadership as a practice of constant self-reflection and humility,’ she told the girls. ‘Think wildly beyond your comfort zone, with compassion and courage… walk in the light of others and allow others to walk in your light’.
1. SHM Foundation is a London-based charity that works globally to bring about positive social change through projects in the areas of learning and citizenship, health and the arts.
2. The Zumbido Health Model uses mobile phones to create social support groups for vulnerable, socially isolated groups. It is a time-bounded social support program wherein participants are placed in support groups of 10-15 peers who share similar experiences.