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Nilakshi Phukan

Associate Teaching Professor

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

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Nilakshi Phukan has been teaching Hindi-Urdu languages and South Asian literatures at the department of Foreign languages and literatures in North Carolina State University since Fall 2011. She received her Ph.D. Degree in Hindi Literature from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, Agra, India in 2006. She received her Post Master’s Degree in Linguistics from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, Agra, India in 2002. She also received her Master’s Degree in Hindi Language and Literature from Dr. B R Ambedkar University in 2000. After coming to America, she started to teach Hindi-Urdu languages as a lecturer at North Carolina State University. She also worked as a lecturer in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She served as a Hindi-Urdu language instructor and coordinator at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since Fall 2012, she has also made her courses available to students at multiple campuses within the UNC system through UNC Online. She has taught Urdu courses to military personnel at Fort Bragg as part of NC State’s Project GOLD (Global Opportunities for Leadership Development) initiative.

Nilakshi Phukan has been incorporating new technologies into Hindi-Urdu language and South-Asian literature teaching and learning process, which is not only making learning and communication more interactive by allowing students to be more engaged with the subject but also, generating fresh enthusiasm and attraction among students of this new generation. Projects related to technology such as, Virtual Reality, 3D Printing,  Green Screen (hands-on or interactive experience in or outside of the classroom), 360 degree Visualization lab experiences are proving how language and literature classes can be integrated with computer science, engineering, graphic designing and other STEM disciplines to create a fun project that not only allows each student to create their own designs but also develop a deeper level of mutual understanding of cultural competence to participate in various societies around the world.

Nilakshi Phukan has consistently engaged with new pedagogies for teaching and learning foreign languages and literatures. She has completed her certification as an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) Tester for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). As a certified ACTFL OPI Hindi language tester, she has incorporated ACTFL’s proficiency-based global assessment guidelines into her language curriculum. These follow the guidelines on oral proficiency levels as established by the federal government’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR). Since her certification, she has regularly conducted Oral Proficiency Interviews to test students at NC State University and at other universities in the region, both in the UNC system and outside of it.

Nilakshi Phukan has been working as a lead Instructor for two STARTALK Summer Hindi Language and Cultural Programs (US Federal government projects). One is YHS STARTALK Summer Language and Cultural Programs in collaboration with North Penn School district, Lansdale, Pennsylvania and the other one is Sangam Franking STARTALK Hindi Language & Culture Program in Franklin county, New Jersey. STARTALK is a project sponsored by the US Federal Government and the National Foreign Language Center to increase the number of U.S. citizens learning, speaking, and teaching critical-need foreign languages such as Hindi/Urdu.

She has participated in STARTALK training at the University of California, Los Angeles (July 2015, July 2018), Columbia University (March 2016), and New York University (June 2016, June 2017). These have covered heritage language teacher training, Hindi/Urdu teacher training, and training in performance-based assessment for Hindi/Urdu teachers. Most recently, she participated in a STARTALK Teacher Leadership Development Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara (July 2017). This was co-sponsored by Stanford University and the California World Language Project, and focused on the theme of Common Core Practices for Language Learning and Global Competence. She has incorporated STARTALK-endorsed principles for highly effective language teaching and learning in her classes at NC State. She is also a licensed yoga Instructor from North Carolina School of Yoga, USA and currently teaching yoga at Morrisville Aquatics and Fitness Center along with K&L Gates LLP in Research Triangle Park, Durham.

In addition to instructional responsibilities and ongoing professional development training, Nilakshi coordinates a number of extension and engagement activities to promote long-term enrollment in Hindi/Urdu courses at NC State. She organizes an annual “Hindi-Urdu Cultural Night,” a unique opportunity for language students to showcase their Hindi and Urdu skills and talents through various language and cultural presentations. She also invites various community organizations and individuals to showcase the diversity of South Asian art and culture. Since 2011, she has  also been serving as the campus advisor for eight different South Asian student organizations at NC State.

Nilakshi has been regularly publishing articles on Hindi fiction in international literary journals, including Vobhom Swar (US and Canada), Hindi Chetna (US and Canada), Shivana Sahityiki (Delhi, India), and Hans (Delhi, India). These have focused mainly on the novels and short stories of contemporary Hindi writers such as Sudha Om Dhingra and Ajay Navaria. To promote scholarly engagement across disciplines and languages affiliated with work on South Asia, she has also published several translations. These include two collections of short stories translated from Hindi to Assamese, Kunkhan Apun Bhumi? (Which land is yours?), in 2012, and Shishur Shreshtha Galpa (The Best Stories for Children, 2013). Nilakshi has published additional translations of short stories in the literary magazines, Vibhom Swar, Hindi Chetna and the Assamese periodical. She was the chief editor of a collection of Assamese folk stories, translated into English as Grandmother’s Tales (2014). She is currently working on an anthology of American folk tales translated from English into Hindi.

Service to the University and Professional Societies

World Literature – South Asian Literature

Departmental Voting Faculty (DVF) at NC State University

North Carolina Consortium for South Asian Studies

Asian Language Concentration

Mentoring Undergraduate Research Scholars for ENG 394-001 Honors Contract for spring 2020 research under University Honors Program (UHP) of Division of Academic and Student Affairs (DASA).

Film Series Organizer (Hindi/Urdu) 2015–present

Departmental Hindi/Urdu Outreach Program Coordinator, 2011–present

World Literature Committee Member, 2016–present
South Asia Consortium, 2011–present

Get Involved at NC State member, 2011–present

Current Projects and Web Resources:

1. Online Advanced Level Hindi Resources – A collaborative product between SEELRC – the Slavic and Eurasian Language Resource Center at Duke University and the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at North Carolina State University.

2. Virtual Reality Modules for Foreign Language and South Asian Literature at NC State University:

3. 360-Degree Visualization Presentation at NC State:

4. Story/Skit Writing and Green Screen Projects:

5. 3-D Printing and Collaboration with Hindi-Urdu Language and Literature:

6. Hindi-Urdu at NC State University Facebook Page:

7. Asian Language Concentration at Packapalooza:


Currently Working On:

1. . Book: “Folk Tales of America”: Collection of folk tales of America in Hindi-Urdu language

2. Online Advanced Level Hindi Conversation Projects: A collaborative project between NC state University and Duke University. Granted by CSEEES (The Duke-UNC Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies)

3.  Online Hindi-Urdu Scripts Courses

4. Working on Elementary and Intermediate course packs for Hindi-Urdu language courses based on the Hindi-Urdu Conversational movies for different proficiency levels

Extension and Community Engagement

Professional service off campus:

STARTALK Summer Hindi Language and Culture Program (PA) Lead Instructor, 2015 – present

STARTALK Summer Hindi Language and Culture Program (NJ) Lead Instructor, 2016 – present

Hindi Pathshala, Morrisville (NC) Lead Instructor & STARTALK Mentor, 2011 – present
NC Hindi Vikas Mandal (Hindi Literary Society), Board of Directors, 2011 – present

Urdu Majlis (Urdu Literary Society), Member, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC, 2006 – present

Cultural Secretary of Assam Association of North Carolina, Cultural Secretary, 2011 – present
Assam Association of North America, Regional VP, 2013 – present

Yoga instructor at Morrisville Aquatics and Fitness Center, North Carolina, 2014-present


New Courses Developed & Teaching Innovations

FLN 201/203, FLN 202/204 (created syllabus & course content): Intermediate Hindi/Urdu I & II
FLN 201/203, FLN 202/204 (created syllabus & course content for delivery to multiple UNC campuses as a 2-way interactive video-conferencing course): Intermediate Hindi/Urdu I & II
FLN 301 (created syllabus): Advanced Hindi/Urdu I
FLN 101/103/102/104 (redesigned syllabus & course content for delivery to multiple UNC Campuses as a 2-way interactive video-conference course): Elementary Hindi/Urdu I & II
ENG/FL 394 (designed syllabus for World Literature curriculum) – South Asian Literature in Bollywood ENG 394 (designed syllabus for World Literature curriculum): Masterpieces of Non-western Literature as part of the World Literature curriculum
FLN 301- 001 (redesigned syllabus & course content for delivery to multiple UNC Campuses as a 2-way interactive video-conference course): Advanced Hindi-Urdu I: 20th Century Hindi/Urdu Prose FictionFLN 302/ENG 394 (designed syllabus for World Literature curriculum): Advanced Hindi/Urdu II, Twentieth Century Hindi/Urdu PoetryFL 295 (designed syllabus & video content): Fast Track to Hindi/Urdu Scripts, UNC Online
FL 295 (designed curriculum for military personnel at Fort Bragg): Summer Intensive Elementary Urdu“Hindi/Urdu Conversational Movies,” designed & produced based on ACTFL Oral Proficiency principles Summer Intensive Elementary Urdu Course: To the militaries of Fort Bragg along with NCSU Students

Skype Tutoring: To Fort Bragg Militaries

Mentoring Activities

Advisor for 8 South Asian student organizations at NC State University: EKTAA, Wolf Pack Raas, Nazaare, Jawani at NCSU, Hindi-Urdu club, Muslim Student Association (MSA), Hindu Student Association (HSA), Global Microfinance Brigades at NC State, 2011 – present


Cultural Activities, South Asian Event Organizing, Community Outreach

Research Publications

Scholarly and Creative Activities: Books, Translation


Dhingra, Sudha Om. Kunkhan Apun Bhumi? (Which land is yours?). Trans. Nilakshi Phukan. Nagaon, Assam: Gigabits Press and Publication, 2012. Hindi to Assamese.

Yadav, Usha. Shishur Shreshtha Galpa (The Best Stories for Children). Trans. Nilakshi Phukan. Nagaon, Assam: Akonir Sahitya Sabha, 2013. Hindi to Assamese.

Edited Book, Translation

Grandmother’s Tales (Assamese folk stories). Ed. Nilakshi Phukan. Nagaon, Assam: Akonir Sahitya Sabha, 2014. Assamese to English.

Articles, Translation

  • An article topic,“Virtual Assam Convention 2020 – A Historic Step!” published in “Pranaam” Newsletter – A Quarterly Publication from AANA (Assam Association of North America), ASSNA (Assam Sahitya Sabha of North America) and AFNA (Assam Foundation of North America).
  • Native American folk story, “The King of Polar Bears” translated into Hindi language was published in the international magazine of global Hindi contemplation “Vibhōma-Swar” Year: 5, issue: 18, Quarterly: the web version of the July-September 2020.
  • ​​​​​​​Honored honorarium for article “Teaching of Hindi language and literature by using modern technologies in America” published in “World Hindi Magazine” run by World Hindi Secretariat – A Bilateral Organization of the Government of India and Mauritius, 2019.
  • “आमेरिकी विश्वविद्यालयों में हिन्दी भाषा का शिक्षण” (Hindi language teaching in American Universities), Sahitya Prabha
  • “डॉ. सुधा ओम ढींगरा का उपन्यास “नक़्क़ाशीदार केबिनेट” का साहित्यिक विश्लेषण” (A literary analysis of Dr. Sudha Om Dhingra’s Novel “Nakkashidar Cabinet”), Shivana Prakashan, 2017
  •  “A Special Literary Reference on Ajay Navaria’s story Vikhandan.” Shivana Sahityiki, July–September 2017
  • “Kauwa Kiran Laya” (Crow Brought the Light): An Inuit Myth tanslated from English into Hindi. To appear in middle school course packs of India.
  • “Hindi Language in Global Perspective.” Vibhom Swar, April–June 2017
  • “Bhagawan ki Srishti” (God’s Creation). Hindi Pracharini Sabha, April 2008
  • “Qismat” (Luck). Hindi Pracharini Sabha, November 2007
  • “Pariksha” (Exam). Maryland Asom Sangha, July 2007 in Assamese.


“Germanyt Ebhumuki” (A Glance in Germany). Akonir Agradoot, August 2006

“Me and My Journey.” Friends Magazine, November 2010

Conference Papers

  • 2019, June 5 – June 7: Presented my paper “Teaching and Learning Hindi Through Modern Technologies in American/NC State University” (“अमेरिका में आधुनिक प्रौद्योगिकियों द्वारा हिन्दी भाषा-साहित्य का शिक्षण और अधिगम”) in The International Conference on Hindi as a Second/Foreign Language at the University of Lisbon, Portugal Organized by the Center for Indian Studies, Center for Linguistics of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and in collaboration with the ICCR/Embassy of India in Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Led the discussion panel on the topic “Difference in learning a language for proficiency vs learning a language for academic studies” in the seminar for “Evaluation of Military Foreign Language Training for University Credit” at Hawthorne Inn and Conference center, Winston-Salem, NC. February 6, 2018
  • Creating learning episodes based on authentic materials to increase the foreign language literacy, Asian Studies seminar, NC State University. November 16, 2017
  • “Developing Topic Based Activities Aligned with Goals- Designing Learning Episodes Based on Cultural Stories” STARTALK Focus Session on  in STARTALK fall conference, Portland, Oregon, November 2017.
  • “Hindi and the World: Local and Global Perspective,” presenter, International Hindi Conference, Consulate General of India, New York, May 2016.
  • “Pedagogical Implications of Using Audio-Video Materials to Model Quasi Real-Life Communication and to Engage Students in Interactive Activities at Different ACTFL Levels,” presenter, International Hindi Conference, Rutgers university, April 2015.
  • “Hindi-Urdu Conversational Movies Using ACTFL Methodology,” presenter, Foreign Language Association of North Carolina Conference, Winston Salem, NC, October, 2013.


Talks and Presentations, Invited

  • Invited to be on panel of judges at Yale University Hindi Debate Competition 2020, National Round on Friday, March 27. The competition was cancelled because of novel coronavirus epidemic.
  • “Designing Learning episodes from cultural and mythological stories” – Presented in STARTALK spring conference on the topic in Loews Philadelphia Hotel, PA, April 2018.
  • “Difference in learning a language for proficiency vs learning a language for academic studies” – Led the discussion panel on the topic in the seminar for “Evaluation of Military Foreign Language Training for University Credit” at Hawthorne Inn and Conference center, Winston-Salem, NC, February, 2018.
  • “ACTFL/Defense Language Institute Hindi Standard Setting Workshop” invited as a language resource person, MD, March 2017.
  • “Hindi and the World: Local and global perspective” invited presenter at International Hindi Conference at Consulate General of India, New York, May 2016.
  • “Asian American Pacific Islander Women’s Panel” hosted by the Women’s Center at NC State University, March 2016.
  • “Pedagogical Implications of Using Audio-Video Materials to Model Quasi Real-Life Communication and to Engage Students in Interactive Activities at Different ACTFL Level” invited presenter at “International Hindi Conference” organized by Rutgers university, New Jersey, April 2015.
  • “Northeast India, People, Language and Culture” invited presenter for Advanced Hindi/Urdu class at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, November 2014.
  • “Hindi-Urdu Conversational Movies Using ACTFL Methodology” invited presenter at FLANC Conference, NC, October 2013.
  • “South Asian Culture and Hindi/Urdu Languages” invited presenter to AFROTC cadets at NC State University, November 2012.


B.A. Major in Hindi Language and Literature, Minoring in Education, English Guwahati University 1998

M.A. Hindi Language and Literature Dr. B R Ambedkar University 2000

M.A. Linguistics Dr. B R Ambedkar University 2002

Ph.D. Hindi/Assamese Folk Literature and Culture Dr. B R Ambedkar University 2006

Area(s) of Expertise

Her research concentration include:

languages and Literatures

Hindi-Urdu prose and poetry


Bollywood Movies and South Asian Literature

South Asian history, cultures and literatures

Folk Literatures