Meet Hana Mangat who co-authored Lady Gaga’s bestselling book

Indian American student’s work features in Lady Gaga’s anthology of short stories about kindness, compassion, and community

Back in high school, Hana Manga, an Indian American student living in Washington, DC, started working with Born This Way, a mental health organization founded by Lady Gaga.

She submitted to the organization two short stories on outstanding acts of kindness she saw in the world during her time there with no idea they would later be published in a New York Times bestseller.

“It’s weird when I say it all out loud. But yes, I did publish and co-author in September 2020,” Mangat told Columbia Daily Spectator, the weekly student newspaper of Columbia University. “It was a New York Times bestseller, … also it’s been translated to a bunch of other languages.”

Read: naisA Global honors Indian Americans Sid Venkatesan, Hana Mangat, Kavya Kopparapu (November 12, 2017)

In her junior year of college, she got back in touch with the organization after Lady Gaga selected her stories to be included in an anthology of short stories about kindness, compassion, and community.

Called “Channel Kindness: Stories of Kindness and Community,” it featured Gaga’s responses to each story and her own entries about resilience in the face of pushback.

Her work with the Born This Way Foundation is one part of her broader commitment to social justice and community service—two facets that drew her to Columbia in the first place, Mangat told the Spectator.

“Columbia has this double magic of the intellectual pursuits of the University and the dynamic energy of the city,” Mangat said. “I just fell in love with it.”

Throughout her time at Columbia, Mangat has captured this “magic” through her pursuit of justice both inside and outside the classroom, the student publication said.

When Mangat entered Columbia as a first-year student in fall 2018, she quickly joined clubs like Columbia Sewa, a group dedicated to social justice based on the Sikh faith, and Columbia Bhangra, a South Asian dance team.

Her hard work and dedication quickly shone through as she began taking on leadership roles as just a first-year, the paper said.

“I became the community service chair of Sewa my [first] year, which was kind of a really awesome leadership opportunity,” Mangat said. “I got to plan events that were important to me.”

Although she entered college with interests in political science and public policy, it wasn’t until she took education and urban studies classes that she became certain of what she wanted to study.

“One of the most important parts was that I wasn’t just focusing on one thing,” Mangat said. “But rather look at how all of these different systems intersect to create justice or injustice, daily condition.”

Mentors in Mangat’s major department encouraged her to further explore her interest in how different systems affect justice and people’s daily conditions.

She called the urban studies and education departments “some of the most supportive and encouraging” departments she has seen.

Read: Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation Is Releasing a New Book, Channel Kindness (March 9, 2022)

“I have been encouraged to study what I care about and produce [research]. … I never even thought I liked research until my professors encouraged me to ask more questions,” Mangat said.

After graduation, Mangat is looking forward to traveling through Europe with friends before beginning her work with nonprofits in New York City.

Looking back on her time at Columbia, Mangat is grateful for the vibrant student community and culture on campus.

“I think that most of the people that I’ve met at Columbia, if not everyone, is incredibly passionate about something whether that’s something I agree with or not,” Mangat said. “It is very cool to be surrounded by people that care.”

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