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Author Aarti Shahani talks with Essex High School students

a woman smiles and looks into a computer web cam while sitting in a room, while behind her are pictures on the wall and a bookshelf full of books
VPR/Vermont PBS
Aarti Shahani spoke with "Vermont Edition" co-host Mikaela Lefrak via Zoom before an audience of more than a hundred students from Essex High School's Global Leadership Program.

You might recognize the name Aarti Shahani as an award-winning tech journalist for NPR and the host of the podcast Art of Power. This hour, Vermont Edition features an encore presentation of host Mikaela Lefrak's interview with Shahani, recorded live on Zoom in February with an audience of students from Essex High School.

An immigrant from Morocco, with family roots in Pakistan and India, Shahani moved as a young child to Flushing, Queens in New York City. She and her family overstayed their temporary visas to try to achieve the American dream. Shahani’s father managed to open a small electronics shop on Broadway, and Shahani earned a scholarship to a prestigious Manhattan prep school.

But everything changed when her father was arrested and sent to prison for mistakenly selling merchandise to the notorious Cali drug cartel. Shahani took a year off of college to fight for his release and keep him from deportation. She documents her family’s story in her memoir Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares.

In early February, Shahani was invited to discuss her memoir and share her experiences with about 100 students from Essex High School’s Global Leadership Program.

Broadcast on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or tweet us @vermontedition.

Mikaela Lefrak joined VPR in summer 2021 as co-host and senior producer of 'Vermont Edition'. Prior to that, she was a reporter and host at WAMU in Washington, D.C.
Tedra joined VPR as a producer for Vermont Edition in January 2022. Before moving to Vermont, she was a journalist in New York City for 20 years. She has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University.