Ishani Tikku at her computer.

Naturally, Ishani Tikku would have preferred to stay in Chicago, to tackle the Spring Quarter in person.

“It was disappointing for everyone,’’ said Ishani, recalling the sudden exodus from campus because of the COVID-19 crisis. “I was bummed.’’

But Ishani is pleased with the unexpected benefits she found in remote learning. For starters, there are no distractions when she’s at home looking at that computer screen.

“I am able to absorb the material better and engage with teachers and peers better,’’ Ishani said as she wrapped up studies in Order and Violence and Program Evaluation courses. “It’s been a really powerful experience.’’

Ishani returned home to Delhi, resuming work with the World Bank where she focuses on improving migrant workers’ access to benefits outlined in labor laws and monitoring of the laws.

Ishani grew up in central India. She studied economics as an undergraduate and social work in her first master’s program. Working in rural development, especially interested in labor and gender issues, Ishani came to believe that she could have greater impact with global exposure and tools to approach challenges and obstacles with quantitative insights.

Harris Public Policy was a good match.

When classes shifted to long-distance, she found especially helpful the ability to review recorded lectures, especially in more technical classes like Program Evaluation, in this case taught by Fiona Burlig.

“Teachers have such an impact, and Burlig is amazing.’’

And in the Order and Violence course taught by Chris Blattman, Tikku surprised herself by becoming more involved in classroom discussion via Zoom than she was in person.

Ishani expects to finish the Harris program remotely, and that’s OK with her.

“While I am spending a lot for this degree, this experience has made me understand the power of ed-tech – that’s my big takeaway.’’

This article is the part of the Harris at Home series, spotlighting the resilience, innovation, and spirit of the Harris community during the COVID-19 pandemic.