Community News (V16-I18)

Salmah Rizvi, Sana Raoof among Soros Fellows

Salmah Rizvi and Sana Raoof have been selected for the prestigious Soros Fellowship for 2014. They are among the thirty students elected from more than 1,200 applicants. Each fellow will receive tuition and stipend assistance of up to $90,000 in support of graduate education.

Sana Raoof

Award to support work toward an MD and a PhD in molecular oncology

As a Muslim teen, Sana faced a dilemma: she wanted to run track but dress modestly. She qualified for Junior Nationals four times in the 800meters and ran varsity track at Harvard College…in a boy’s uniform.

The daughter of Indian immigrants, Sana was raised on Long Island. After studying knot theory at MIT, she won the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2008 and the Taiwan International Science Fair in 2009.

Hoping to teach kids the chemistry of smoking versus running, Sana created a class, BreatheStrong, in 2010. She also became Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Science Review and the youngest keynote speaker for the American Mathematical Society. Her published thesis, which used statistical mechanics to model protein interactions, illuminated the process of antibody optimization.

Sana represented Harvard at the World Debate Championships in Botswana, hoping to sharpen her persuasive skills to eventually fight tobacco-related illness through policy. 

Her mother’s battle with breast cancer inspired Sana to enroll in Harvard-MIT’s MD/PhD program. She will study resistance mechanisms to targeted therapies for non-small cell lung cancer. Optimistic about tobacco legislation reducing the burden of cancer, Sana wrote a meta-analysis quantifying second-hand smoke exposure in cars and presented it to the American College of Chest Physicians in 2013.

Salmah Y Rizvi

Award to support work toward a JD

Born in Indonesia, Salmah is the daughter of a Pakistani father and Guyanese mother. Raised as a Shia Muslim, Salmah was motivated to fight inequality from an early age.

As a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University, Salmah founded and led the humanitarian relief organization Vision XChange which produced competitive fundraising events to creatively combat injustices such as child soldier recruitment and human trafficking in the global grassroots.

Thereafter, she completed an MS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University while working for the US Department of State and National Security Agency. She mastered multiple foreign languages and impacted missions that countered terrorism, terrorist financing, and nuclear proliferation.

Salmah was appointed the first Chairwoman of the N.S.A. Islamic Cultural Employee Resource Group. She highlighted Muslims as assets to US national security and led ninety-two analysts in progressing intelligence reporting on the Muslim world while also enhancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Salmah is currently pursuing a JD at the New York University School of Law. She hopes to combine her legal, security, and nonprofit experience into a role as an effective politician and civic leader in Baltimore, a city she loves and desires to support through innovative advocacy and reform.

Harvard Islamic Society launches fund campaign

The Harvard Islamic Society launched its Muslim Life Fund campaign last Friday and hopes to raise $30,000 in 2014, the Crimson reported. According to HIS Director of Development Hassaan Shahawy ’16, the Muslim Life Fund is meant to bolster what students call a lack of resources for a growing Muslim student community, particularly by securing a part-timecampus chaplain for 2015.

Members of HIS began to work on the funding initiative last fall after examining the results of a survey regarding Muslim student life on campus. The survey indicated thatabout half of student respondents felt dissatisfied with Muslim life at Harvard and 83 percent wanted an official chaplain on campus.

Nuri Friedlander, a teaching fellow in the study of religion, currently serves as a volunteer chaplain for the community. Given his multiple commitments, however, he said that his availability for students is limited.


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