In the News

Pawan Dhingra has been published in a variety of national and international media, including The New York Times, CNN, The Conversation, and more.


The New York Times: “The Scripps Spelling Bee Is Broken. Please Don’t Fix It” (July 1, 2019)

CNN: “The difficult choice about hiring a tutor for your children” (September 22, 2020)

The Conversation: “Tutoring kids who don’t need it is a booming business in affluent areas where parents want to stack the deck” (March 2, 2020)

CNN: “How the story of Kamala Harris upends the Asian American ‘model minority’ stereotype” (August 19, 2020)

The Conversation: “Why Indian American spelling bee success is more than just an endearing story” (July 20, 2020)

Arc Digital: “Betsy DeVos Has a Plan to Help Low-Income Students. History Suggests the Opposite Will Happen.” (May 5, 2020)

The Buffalo News: “Gates Foundation takes wrong path to rethinking education” (June 1, 2020)

Author and activist Diane Ravitch’s blog invitation: “Pawan Dhingra on ‘Hyper Education’ and Its Consequences” (June 16, 2020)

The Bulwark: “Reform the Law, Too” (June 23, 2020)

Indian Express: “Stars and Gripes” (April 22, 2013)

Indian Express: “Missing the Desi Beat” (January 13, 2015)


TEDx, Harvard University (November 2018)

Review of talk: “Harvard’s Annual TEDx Event Challenges Attendees to Think Critically”

Brown University (October 2018)


Spelling the Dream (2020), on Netflix


NPR/All Things Considered Author Interview: “‘Life Behind The Lobby’ Of Indian-American Motels” (May 30, 2012)

NPR/Morning Edition: “Why Indian-Americans Reign As Spelling Bee Champs” (May 29, 2012)

NPR/Weekend Edition: “Here To Stay: How Indian-Born Innkeepers Revolutionized America’s Motels” (March 5, 2016)

NPR/Truth be Told, Race in the Workplace (hour long guest on the show)

WAMC/The Roundtable: Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough

Post and Courier Gravy Podcast: “Dinner at the Patel Motel” (March 10, 2016)

You’ve Got it Made Podcast

Emil Amok’s Takeout: “Asian American Islamophobia” (June 7, 2017)


The Atlantic: “Four Myths Fueling the Fight Over NYC’s Exclusive High Schools”

American Bazaar: “Motels in the US: the domain of Indian Americans”

Bloomberg: “Motel Industry Turmoil Blocks Indian-American Path to Prosperity”

Borderzine: “‘Patel Motels’ spreading Indian entrepreneurship throughout the U.S.”

Boston Globe: “Studies Show We Are a Long Way from the Land of the Free”

Boston Globe: “Dear Abby, Your Advice Against Giving Kids Foreign Names Reeks of Whitewashing”

The Caravan: “An exhibition on Indian Americans strives to present the community’s story on its own terms”

Colorlines: “How a Staple of Americana Became the Indian American Dream”

The Economic Times: “Why PM Modi is more alluring to the Patels of America than bellows for quotas back home”

Firstpost: “How Patels took over motels”

Forbes: “Why Any More Presidential Debates Should Be Entirely About COVID-19”

The Guardian: “The meaning of Kamala Harris: the woman who will break new ground as vice-president”

The Guardian: “From Apu to Master of None: how US pop culture tuned into the south Asian experience”

The Guardian: “No laughing matter: how can The Simpsons solve its problem with Apu?”

Gulf News: “About time! How US pop culture opened up to South Asia”

Hindustan Times: “For Patels living in US, reservation is not the solution”

Hindustan Times: “Things Indian Americans Have Had to Do to Belong”

Hyphen Magazine: “Front Desk – How Can I Help You?” Indian American Motel Owners in the Heartland”

International Business Times: “Spelling Bee Blues: Indians’ Domination Only Reasserts Negative Stereotypes”

Little India: “Indian American Hotels Scale Up”

NBC News: “‘Binded by blood,’ split over election: Asian American family embodies generational shift in politics”

News India: “Hindu priest brutally attacked in New York”

Nogales International: “Indian nationals find a home in Santa Cruz County”

PBS News Hour website: “5 stories from last week that deserve a second look”

PRI/The World: “Indian Americans are crucial voting bloc in Houston’s hotly contested House race”

PRI/The World: “Putting an end to ‘chain migration’ could have a negative economic impact”

PRI/Economics: “Sundar Pichai’s ascension at Google isn’t proof that immigrants have ‘made it'”

The StarLedger: “They know where it’s at: Indian-Americans rule at National Geographic Bee”

Quartz: “The affluent Patel clan owns a quarter of US motels. In India, it wants to be called ‘backward'”

Salon: “The White House is misleading the public on ‘chain migration'”

Slate, “Ed Case Shows How Not to Reach Out to Your Nonwhite Constituents”

The Society Pages: “Spelling Bees to Secure Straight ‘A’s'”

South China Morning Post: “How Indian kids became masters of spelling bees”

This Week in Asia: “How Indian kids conquered the English dictionary and became world champions of spelling bees”

Times of India: “Gujaratis 6% of Indians, but 20% of US Indians”

Times Herald-Record: “Schools Scramble to Respond to Influx of Immigrant Students”

USA Today: “‘Time for innovation’: How tutoring could be a key to lifting kids out of ‘COVID slide'”

Voice of America: “Trump Returns From India Visit, But With Some Rewards Yet to Come”

Washington Post: “An influential clan clamoring for opportunity in India also owns about half of U.S. motels”

Wall Street Journal: “Why Indian Americans are Best at Bees”

Wall Street Journal: “Why Indian Americans Dominate the U.S. Motel Industry”

Wall Street Journal: “‘Spelling the Dream’ Review: A Long Spell of Dominance”