Asha Sundararaman was born in Palo Alto, California. She grew up in California, Indiana, Canada, and Nigeria. Her father, an immigrant from India, worked for Chevron and was relocated several times during Sundararaman’s childhood. Sundararaman attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she was an active member in Fusion, an organization for mixed race students. She attended graduate school in London, England, and also lived in India and Angola. She later moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn, and worked as a volunteer coordinator for Orbis International, an organization that works to prevent blindness in developing countries.