Alumni Profiles

"...I was fortunate to find MPSN, and I had an enriching experience -- not only due to the speakers who came but my fellow attendees as well.  It was reaffirming to meet and reconnect with others who were committed to engaging with our government and the various public policy organs in a constructive and positive way. In times like these...the importance of MPSN -- what it represents and the potential it holds -- could not be greater."

- Aejaz Dar (MPSN 1998)

Zarinah 'Ali

  • MPSN 2002
  • Internship: Public Health Foundation
  • Education: Tuskegee University (BS Biology), Morehouse School of Medicine (MPH)

'Ali is a Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Program Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Division of Reproductive Health. At Morehouse School of Medicine, she served as consultant on several research projects related to maternal and child health (MCH), violence prevention in children and heart disease.

During her MPSN summer, 'Ali interned with the Public Health Foundation where she researched and compiled data on performance management and public health status of various state and county agencies. Her primary interest is to improve the health status and well-being of women and children. She hopes through her continued work in public health she will help to reduce MCH disparities, prevent illness and improve health outcomes. She also has an interest to pursue her PhD in public health as well as a medical degree in pediatrics.

Su'ad Abdul-Khabeer

  • MPSN 1998
  • Internship: National Democratic Institute
  • Education: Georgetown University (BA International Politics), Princeton University (PhD - Current), Islamic Studies Institute at Abu Nur University, Damascus, Syria

Abdul-Khabeer is currently PhD student at Princeton University investigating American and Moroccan Muslim hip hop and its relationship to identity, tradition and place.

Prior to pursuing her PhD, Abdul-Khabeer worked for the Annie E. Casey Foundation where she was instrumental in formulating a community development initiative. She also helped create Esperanza/Hope an initiative of the Vera Institute of Justice, an alternative to incarceration program for New York City's youth. She has also spoken and presented papers at various conferences and universities across the country.

She speaks Spanish, Arabic and a tad of French and traces her heritage to the Caribbean, Latin America, and Brooklyn, her hometown.

Firas Ahmad

  • MPSN 1997
  • Internship: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
  • Education: Georgetown University (MA International Affairs), Harvard Kennedy School of Government (MPP)

Ahmad is currently an Associate Director at Emergence BioEnergy Inc., a Cambridge, MA based company that is developing a distributed platform for renewable energy in rural parts of South Asia.

Previously, Ahmad was the Senior Editor of Islamica Magazine. He also writes and speaks on various topics related to the media, current affairs, politics and international development. Ahmad has worked as an international development consultant for various firms and organizations including the Human Development Taskforce in Pakistan and Abt Associates.

Amna Akbar

  • MPSN 2000
  • Internship: Office of Representative David Bonior (D-MI)
  • Education: Barnard College (BA), University of Michigan (JD)

Akbar began working for Congressman Bonior immediately after MPSN, first as a Legislative Correspondent, then as a Legislative Aide on issues of International Affairs and Human and Civil Rights. After receiving her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 2004, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Michigan Law Review, she clerked for Gerard E. Lynch, United States District Court, Southern District of New York. Prior to law school, she worked for former Democratic Whip David Bonior (D-MI), advising him on international affairs and human and civil rights.

Akbar is currently a Clinical Fellow in the International Human Rights Clinic at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU Law. Prior to this, Akbar oversaw the Asian Battered Women's Project at Queens Legal Services Corporation, where she represented Asian immigrant battered women in civil and immigration matters; and worked with community-based organizations to address the nonlegal needs of local Asian battered women. In conjunction with Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute, she coauthored a chapter of a New York City-centered Shadow Report to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, documenting the failures of New York's courts, legislature, and police to satisfy human rights obligations to battered immigrant women and women of color.

Her research interests include the applicability of human rights norms to "private" actors; the privatization of the war on terrorism; and the ways that laws construct and maintain, and present opportunities to challenge, the intersecting realities of gender and race. Also interested in the relationship between media and law, she co-produces a weekly radio show on the Pacifica Network's WBAI in New York City, which focuses on Asian American politics, news, and culture.

Laila Al-Arian

  • MPSN 2001
  • Internship: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
  • Education: Georgetown University (BA English Literature), Columbia University (MA Journalism)

Al-Arian currently works as a television news producer for Al Jazeera English in Washington DC. She has produced stories on a range of topics, including the difficulty of resettling Iraqi refugees in the U.S. and the FBI killing of an imam in Detroit. She previously interned at the Nation magazine in New York, where she focused on war crimes in Iraq. She co-authored a book with journalist and writer Chris Hedges entitled "Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians." Al-Arian has worked for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs as well as The Current Newspapers, a group of community newspapers in Washington D.C., where she focused on issues such as crime, education, housing, health and politics. She has also interned for USA Today and United Press International.

Sana Fadel

  • MPSN 2000, 2001
  • Internship: Friends of the Earth
  • Education: Augusta State University (BA Fine Arts), Columbia University (MA Public Administration)

Currently, Fadel directs the Public Policy program at Rosie's Place, a sanctuary for poor and homeless women in Boston. She is responsible for advocating at the state-level on issues affecting Rosie's Place guests as well as empowering them through voter mobilization and advocacy trainings.

During MPSN, Fadel interned for Friends of the Earth, an environmental advocacy organization where she was involved with lobbying members of Congress on economic matters with an environmental impact.

Nushin Huq

  • MPSN 1999
  • Internship: Market News International
  • Education: University of Texas at Austin (BA Journalism), Northwestern University (MA Journalism)

Huq currently works in Washington DC as an energy reporter for SNL Energy covering the natural gas industry and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. She also covers state commissions that regulate the public utilities on the state level, such as approving rates customers pay for retail natural gas.

Minha Husaini

  • MPSN 1995
  • Internship: Office of Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
  • Education: University of California, Irvine (BA Political Science), University of Southern California (MA Health and Public Administration)

After several years working in e-commerce health care supply chain management, Husaini moved to Banda Aceh, Indonesia as the Project Coordinator for Tsunami reconstruction efforts with the NGO Gemma9 where she worked on coastal reforestation and capacity building initiatives.

She is currently an International Development Consultant with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Banda Aceh, developing strategic plans to educate women and families on health, social and nutritional issues.

Maryam Khan

  • MPSN 2002
  • Internship: Office of Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)
  • Education: Johns Hopkins University (BS Civil Engineering, Minor: Entrepreneurship and Business Management)

Khan has worked with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) since graduating, and was voluntarily deployed to Afghanistan to help rebuild infrastructure for six months in 2004 and in 2005. When the earthquake in Pakistan struck during her deployment in 2005, she was immediately sent to the affected areas for three weeks to assess the structural integrity of devastated roadways and buildings.

Khan returned to the US in February 2006, and continues to work at USACE in Frederick, Maryland as a Project Engineer for Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) military work.

Intisar Rabb

  • MPSN 1998
  • Internship: United States Commission on Civil Rights, Research Bureau of the United States Information Agency (now subsumed into the State Department) for Russian and Middle Eastern Affairs
  • Education: Georgetown University (BA Government and Arabic), Yale University (JD), Princeton University (PhD - Current), Islamic Studies Institute at Abu Nur University, Damascus, Syria.

Currently, Rabb serves as a law clerk to The Honorable Thomas L. Ambro of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. She also serves as a consultant for the MPSN curriculum and lectured on Legal Maxims in Islamic Law' during the 2006 program, leading an exploration of the foundations of Islamic jurisprudence and the major issues that arise in its application today. Rabb also published an article in Islamica Magazine entitled, "Hurricane Katrina: Lessons for Muslim and American Communities".

Jihad Saleh

  • MPSN 2005
  • Internship: AARP
  • Education: University of California, Los Angeles (BA Political Science and Sociology), Stanford University (MA Education), Princeton University (MPP)

Saleh is an organizer and speaker in African American, Muslim, and progressive communities. His organizing focuses on creating spaces where minority and marginalized youth can give voice to their political, cultural, and gender concerns. In July 2006, he was invited to the "Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow" Conference, an international meeting held in Copenhagen, Denmark focused on the development of indigenous Muslim youth leadership in North America and Europe.

Prior to his graduate studies, he was a high school special education teacher and community activist in Los Angeles. He continues to be a consultant for multicultural dialogue and outreach in community-based organizations.

Farid Senzai, Ph.D

  • MPSN 1996
  • Internship: Brookings Institution
  • Education: Columbia University (MA International Affairs), Oxford University (Ph.D. Political Science)

Farid Senzai is a Fellow and the Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU). He is also an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Santa Clara University. Senzai has been a research associate at the Brookings Institution, where he studied U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East, and a research analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations, working on the Muslim Politics project. He served as a consultant for Oxford Analytica and the World Bank and is on the advisory board of The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Senzai received his M.A. in international affairs from Columbia University and his Ph.D. in politics and international relations from Oxford University.

Faiz Shakir

  • MPSN 2001
  • Internship: White House
  • Education: Harvard University (BA Government), Georgetown University (JD)

Shakir is the Deputy Research Director for the Progress Report and ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress, a non-partisan progressive think tank.

Shakir has previously worked as a Research Associate for the Democratic National Committee, in addition to serving as a Legislative Aide to Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and as Communications Aide in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

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