Neha Chauhan

Neha Chauhan
Nami Sung

Neha’s sign reminds the former Ashley Angel fan club president to stay chill.

If Neha Chauhan ’08 had a million dollars, she wouldn’t buy a K-car, elephant bones, or anything else from the Barenaked Ladies song. Chauhan would donate it to the FINCA, a microfinance institution that provides loans to impoverished entrepreneurs—and she plans to do just that.

Chauhan is scheduled to start fundraising toward her goal on Jan. 1.

“I think you can take any idea and bring it to completion,” says Chauhan. “I think it’s important for anyone to think big, especially girls.”

Chauhan’s first big idea led to an appearance in CosmoGirl! where she was featured for her work with Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness, a national non-profit organization she founded at 15 and continues to be involved with even today.

Non-CosmoGirl! readers may still recognize Chauhan around campus as the co-chair of the Harvard-Radcliffe Women’s Leadership Project (WLP), or as the business development chair for Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business.

“The one word I would describe her with is passion,” says Supriya M. Balsekar ’08, co-chair of the WLP.

Now Chauhan is applying that passion to different pursuits, such as developing a Web site, www.girlsinleadership.com, that aims to promote leadership among high school girls.

“She’s on top of her game,” says Anna P. Brito ’08, her roommate. “People offer advice and pretend to care, but she’s really genuine. I found that hard to find in a competitive place like Harvard. That’s my favorite quality about her.”

Life after Harvard will lead Chauhan, who is concentrating in sociology with a secondary field in economics, to J.P. Morgan. Chauhan is interested in eventually starting her own microfinance fund.

But Chauhan’s most recent accomplishment? Showing that women leaders are bringing sexy back. The senior made a five-second cameo appearance in the audience of the new Justin Timberlake concert DVD.

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