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Kaavya Viswanathan: Student Advisor?

india Updated: Aug 10, 2006 19:24 IST
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In the eye of a worldwide media storm over plagiarism charges, Indian American student author Kaavya Viswanathan is returning to Harvard University to continue studying literature and advising new students.

The 18-year-old student has been busy throughout the American summer boosting her self-esteem and working at 85 Broads, a network founded in 1999 for female Goldman Sachs employees, Harvard Crimson, the campus newspaper reported in a recent issue.

"Kaavya is incredibly talented and has many gifts that we will make considerable use of," Janet Hanson, the founder of 85 Broads, wrote in an e-mail to the Crimson. "I am thrilled that she's joining the team," she said adding that Viswanathan will be working on "a variety of projects that have a global scope" during her time there.

And when she returns to school in September, she will be interacting with new students as one of about 190 peer advising fellows, who interact with new students before classes begin, it said. Viswanathan was selected out of nearly 500 applicants.

"After weathering a worldwide media storm, junior year might not seem quite so daunting," predicted the Crimson.

Viswanathan's friends say the young writer hasn't given up her literary goals, but will wait for a few years before approaching publishers.

 
 Kaavya Viswanathan, whose best-seller How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life was withdrawn after it was discovered to have plagiarised portions from several other novels

Viswanathan had originally planned to intern at the investment bank Lehman Brothers, the Crimson said quoting The Record, a Bergen County, New Jersey, newspaper. But a Lehman Brothers spokesman would not comment on whether Viswanathan voluntarily relinquished her investment-bank internship or whether the bank rescinded its offer, it said.

It was a Crimson report that her first book, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, Got a Life, contained passages similar to those in a 2001 novel Sloppy Firsts that stirred the plagiarism controversy.

Amid the "Kaavyagate" controversy leading to the withdrawal of her first book from hundreds of bookshops across America and cancellation of her lucrative second book contract, Harvard administrators maintained that the College's policies against plagiarism only applied to academic course work.

The College looked into the plagiarism allegations, but Viswanathan was spotted on campus throughout the remainder of the semester.

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