Who We Are

Staff

Laila Alawa

Laila Alawa

CEO & Founder

Laila is The Tempest’s founder and CEO. Laila has given a TED Talk, appeared on BBC World News and NPR, and contributes on women’s issues and entrepreneurship to Forbes and The Guardian. She was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Media and Cafe.com’s inaugural The Cafe 100, and recognized by the White House. Before founding The Tempest, Laila worked at the White House and Congress, and was previously at Princeton University.


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Mashal Waqar

Mashal Waqar

COO & Co-Founder

Accessibility Advocate. Startup Mentor. Awarded Young Leader of the Year at the Global WIL Economic Forum. Can quote any sentence in Lord of the Rings and 40 digits of the value pi.


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Katherine Kaestner-Frenchman

Katherine Kaestner-Frenchman

Managing Editor

Katherine serves as Managing Editor of The Tempest. A lifelong nomad and Third Culture Kid, Katie, as she’s known to her friends, is passionate about storytelling, feminism, foreign affairs, and wine. Before joining The Tempest, she worked in marketing and communications in Germany, Palestine, India and the USA. When she’s not working, she’s throwing dinner parties, taking photos or putting her Art History degree to good use as she explores Europe.


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Asma Elgamal

Asma Elgamal

Senior News & Society Editor

Passionate reader, writer, and photographer. She’s looking for new perspectives and drinking Moroccan mint tea by the gallon.


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Nushrat Nur

Nushrat Nur

Assistant Social Justice Editor

Nushrat is a third-year pre-med student majoring in journalism at the University of Florida. As an Editor at The Tempest, she values the importance of outreach medical care, the media’s role in shaping more active participants in the fight for social justice, creative team initiative, and her mom’s bhiryani. Nushrat has an impactful background in activism that’s truly inspired and helped her shape the Social Justice channel into what it Is today.


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Saffiyya Mohammed

Saffiyya Mohammed

Senior Community Editor

Caribbean woman but not by your preconceived notions; there’s a Trini everywhere so I’m the one here. As a Senior Community Editor for The Tempest, she knows two things for sure: writing can change the world, and if you have a story to tell, you owe it to yourself to share it. Born and bred island girl, she’s contemplating the next destination for her adventure while also being a bibliophile, writer, and planeteer.


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Alejandra Permuy

Alejandra Permuy

Assistant Interviews Editor

Cuban-American, born and raised in Miami, time spent in Gulf states (as in Arabia/Persia, not of Mexico), Alejandra proves you can take the woman out of Miami but you can’t take the Miami out of the woman. An Assistant Interviews Editor at The Tempest, she has a Master’s in Gulf Studies from Qatar University and has taught ESL in Saudi Arabia. She enjoys discussing the intersection of politics and religion, and binge-watching sitcoms for funsies.


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Arsh Khan

Arsh Khan

Community Editor

Applied Psychology graduate from Kinnaird College for Women University. A sassy, classy, and annoyingly samrt-assy Pakistani chick whose dream is to sip on some good chai while she watches the patriarchy burn to the ground, making significant contribution to the world, and keeping her hair frizz-free forever. But for now, you can find her trying to keep her life and mental health on track while taking photographs, perfecting her art skills, and trying to figure out what goes on in her cat’s mind.


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Fatima Ali

Fatima Ali

Lookbook Editor

Student at the University of San Francisco. When she’s not writing a new article, she’s most likely watching Empire, online shopping, or obsessing over makeup.


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Jennifer Njoku

Jennifer Njoku

Weddings Editor

As an Editor for The Tempest, Jennifer is proud to prove that yes, English majors can take over the world. She calls many places home, including Los Angeles where she grew up and Milwaukee where she attended Marquette University and spread her literary wings. In her free time, she can be found cooking a fun new recipe, catching up on Netflix, or kicking butt in an exercise class, because who really likes working out alone?


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Shanicka Anderson

Pop Culture Editor

Shanicka is the Pop Culture Editor at The Tempest. A writer of Jamaican descent living in New York, she believes pop culture is a necessary and accessible way to observe and critique society. Often and without prompting, she enjoys talking about Harry Styles, BTS, her year abroad in London, and the complexities of the Caribbean diaspora.


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Federica Bocco

Federica Bocco

Assistant Pop Culture Editor

Assistant Pop Culture Editor Federica is a part-time writer and full-time intersectional feminist. Fandom resident expert. Graduating in Communications/Media Studies with a minor in Humanities and an insane passion for Gender Studies. She likes pop culture, but you know what’s even cooler? Producing your own media.


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Yannise Jean

Yannise Jean

Assistant Pop Culture Editor

Assistant Pop Culture Editor Yannise is a writer with a BA from Hunter College in Creative Writing. She loves writing about women of color and religion. You can find her at home eating pizza and discussing the importance of intersectionality in feminism.


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Meagan Foy

Meagan Foy

Senior Life Editor

As the Senior Life Editor, Meagan is proud to help showcase women’s voices on issues that matter. She is a James Madison University grad but still loves the Dukes. She calls Newtown, CT her home and finds it as a place of inspiration as well. She can be reached at meagan.foy[at]thetempest.co.


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Paulina Rowe

Paulina Rowe

Assistant Life Editor

Paulina hails from a town in Connecticut and is the Assistant Life Editor. When she’s not editing for The Tempest you can find her teaching English in Colombia as a Fulbright Scholar, which often makes her question how the English language makes any sense at all. Paulina is working on polishing her writing and salsa dancing skills, for one of which there is hope and for another, there is not.


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Mitta Thakrar

Mitta Thakrar

Now & Beyond Editor

As  Now & Beyond Editor, Mitta is on a quest to make science relatable and popular. She is based in the UK, in the countryside far away from humans. Mitta has a law degree but has somehow ended up in the wondrous land of writers. She writes everything from poetry to short stories and hopes to finish her novel one day. Additionally, Mitta can be found avidly reading or playing with her cats.


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Tiara Jenkins

Tiara Jenkins

Assistant Now & Beyond Editor

As the Assistant Now & Beyond Editor, Tiara is studying physical and medical anthropology at the University of Florida, with a minor in communications. A proud womanist who’s passionate about equal representation for black women in…everything, especially nerd culture. Loves reading, napping, and is an avid believer that frozen yogurt is inferior to ice cream.


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Sian Ferguson

Sian Ferguson

Love Editor

Based in South Africa, Sian is the proud parent of three cats and numerous pot plants. In addition to working as the Love Editor at The Tempest, Sian is a freelance health journalist. She has been passionate about reading and writing for as long as she can remember, so working as a writer and editor is a dream come true for her. In her spare time, she loves cooking, baking, and learning about astrology.


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Maheen Humayun

Maheen Humayun

Assistant Love Editor

Assistant Love Editor Maheen is a writer and teacher based in Karachi, Pakistan. A graduate of the John Cabot University program in English Literature and Creative Writing, Maheen writes about women’s rights and social issues. Her novella, “Special,” was published in 2012, and she continues to write short fiction. She is also an avid art journaler, coffee drinker, and impassioned feminist.


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Jasmyne Ray

Jasmyne Ray

Lookbook & Weddings Editor

Jasmyne Ray is a Senior Mass Communication major and Public Relations minor at the University of Montevallo and a strong advocate for mental health awareness. As the Lookbook & Weddings Editor, Jasmyne believes that being surrounded by people from different walks of life provides unique opportunities to learn and understand one another.


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Syjil Ashraf

Syjil Ashraf

Assistant Weddings Editor

Assistant Weddings Editor, Syjil, is a writer and never sure how else to describe herself. In addition to a degree in Journalism & Media Studies and Human Resource Management from Rutgers University, Syjil has an unfinished novel, an addiction to Cheddar Bay Biscuits, and a Norwegian Forest Cat named Professor McGonagall. With a train wreck of thoughts and a mouth that won’t stop running, Syjil’s articles, blog posts, poems, and fiction tend to address politics, social issues, desi culture, and things people don’t want to hear.


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Ameeta Ganatra

Ameeta Ganatra

Executive Producer

Audio engineer with an interest in sound design and electronic composition. She studied Arts Technology from Illinois State University. She has taken a variety of courses to quench her thirst for learning: design, audio, video, and web. She focused on audio and delved deeper into the subject.


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Suha Sabith

Suha Sabith

Associate Producer

An ardent fan of comics and vampire literature, she loves to spend time understanding their socio-political commentary or in debates over DC vs. Marvel.


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Mary Morrison

Mary Morrison

Associate Producer

Associate Producer Mary is currently based in Orlando, Florida, where she lives with her rescue doggo Rocket. After working in live events for about a decade, she enjoys diversifying her skillset in recorded media. Her day job is at a theme park – yes, its the one you’re thinking.


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Taylor Faires

Taylor Faires

Associate Producer

Student at Barnard College majoring in Political Science and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She loves to talk about intersectionality and fictional horror podcasts and always carries a book in her purse.


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Alexandra Tengco

Alexandra Tengco

Associate Video Producer

As an Associate Video Producer for The Tempest, Alex is interested in video to show the experiences of marginalized people and to cover issues ignored by the media. BA in Film and Media Studies w/focus on Asian American Studies from UC Santa Barbara. Has worked on many projects as a camera assistant and assistant editor, the documentarian for the LA Regional Office of the US Census Bureau, and taught middle/high school video production and live-streaming. Proud Angeleno, avid reader, tv watcher, compulsive hobbyist.


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Lucia Ruan

Lucia Ruan

Associate Video Producer

As a self-taught filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California, Lucia is passionate about using video as a medium for social justice. She is particularly proud of the first short film she ever made about a community engagement program addressing the low educational attainment of Pacific Islanders. When she’s not behind the camera, she enjoys stress baking, screaming about K-pop, and reading really bad hockey romance novels (hey, we all have our guilty pleasures).


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Deema Alawa

Deema Alawa

Executive Creative Director

Self-taught artist hailing from New Hampshire, she specializes in illustration and design and can usually be seen with pencils in both hands.


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Silla Alawa

Silla Alawa

Director of Social Media Strategy

Apart from strategizing and writing, find her eating Twizzlers and reading terrible books.


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Chasiti Gaines

Chasiti Gaines

Director of Audience Development & Engagement 

Born and raised in Louisville, KY (and no, she doesn’t drink bourbon and ride horses!), Chasiti believes that by diversifying our storytelling – we change the world and make it a better place. Before joining The Tempest as the Director of Audience Development & Engagement, she obtained a Masters in Communication and helped brands “up” their digital marketing game. In her free time, Chasiti can be found playing Plants vs. Zombies, reading a horror novel, and putting unicorn emojis on everything – she’s an all-around magical hustla.


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Malak Hakam

Malak Hakam

Social Community Manager

Marketing and supply chain double major and, as a young entrepreneur, has at least six businesses running at a time. Her other hobbies include website & graphic design, reading and writing.


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Dina Ayoub

Dina Ayoub

Content Partnership Strategist

Currently pursuing a degree in marketing at the American University of Beirut. Her college is in Lebanon, home in the UAE and heart forever in Palestine.


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Hamna Saleem

Hamna Saleem

Senior Photo Editor

As the Senior Photo Editor for The Tempest, Hamna has learned the versatility of a Journalism degree. She was born in Lahore, Pakistan but has been a Jersey Girl since ’98, when her family migrated to the United States. Hamna has a strong passion for conveying visual stories through the art of photography and videography. She also is a hardcore K-pop fan and enjoys an occasional K-drama binge.


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Farwa Farshori

Farwa Farshori

Director of Global Growth

Communications and Social Justice Graduate living in Toronto. She is passionate about politics, pop-culture and creating change through socially innovative means.


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Faryal Waqar

Faryal Waqar

Growth Hacker

Management aficionado residing in the United Arab Emirates. Has an obsession with Disney movies, binge-watching LOTR, and watching tacky reality shows that turn out to be predictably terrible.

Sumayya Sideek

Sumayya Sideek

Growth Strategist

Desert-raised islander. Spoken word poet with a passion for PR, Advertising, and Media Studies. When she’s not busy analyzing the discourse behind every show she’s ever binged on, she’s probably lip-syncing to alternative music.


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Adelaide McComb

Adelaide McComb

Grants Coordinator

Adelaide is currently a graduate student at the University of Louisville where she is attaining a dual master’s degree in Nonprofit Management and Curatorial Studies. Having worked in marketing, communications and software development, Adelaide is currently working with post-resettlement refugee and immigrant populations in the bluegrass state. As the Grants Coordinator for The Tempest, her passion for language and adventure have brought her around the world from Canada to the Netherlands to Curacao, though she is now fortunate to call Kentucky home.


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Atiya Abbas

Atiya Abbas

Growth Strategist

Transnational feminist working with Girls at Dhabas, a collective that is working to define public space on their own whims and terms. Since her return to Pakistan from the University of Missouri- Columbia, she has been involved with this collective, arranging events across Karachi and Lahore. When she gets some downtime, she is reading and satisfying her brownie cravings.


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Fellows

Jordan Miller

Jordan Miller

Community Fellow

Communications graduate currently working in tech in Nashville, TN. In her spare time, she enjoys trying new foods, reading, and writing. She also considers Rihanna her spirit animal.

Apurva Gupta

Apurva Gupta

Community Fellow

A third-year student at Amity University, India, majoring with an Honours in Applied Psychology with her keen interest being in Music which majorly consists of BTS, Art, Food, Film, & Television. Loves teaming up with people to work on projects and working on creative and novel ideas.

Mary Jane Coppock

Mary Jane Coppock

Audio Fellow

Media educator with a BA from Scripps College in Media Studies and Studio Art. Passionate about amplifying underrepresented voices and experiences. Believes that safe access is a human right and media literacy is key to dismantling mainstream media narratives.

Taylor Fang

Taylor Fang

Audio Fellow

Student, writer, and creative living in Utah. She’s passionate about empathetic communication and connecting people through art, and is also involved in STEM fields, including co-founding a female-led STEM blog called Allgirlithm (allgirlithm.weebly.com)

Marcella Haddad

Marcella Haddad

Audio Fellow

Loves climbing trees, dismantling the patriarchy, and writing speculative fiction and poetry. She teaches creative writing at Grubstreet and English as a second language online.

V Silverman

V Silverman

Design Fellow

Nonbinary graphic artist and podcast enthusiast with a background in biology and drama. A Nice Jewish Queer from Asheville, NC, in their spare time V manages the fortnightly podcast Fuzzy Logic, plays D&D, and peddles flowery anti-oppression stickers to nice folks like you.

Taylor Copeland

Taylor Copeland

Design Fellow

Senior Illustration student at the Lesley University College of Art and Design. Outside of her work in illustration and design, she enjoys playing music and going to concerts.

Rachael Lauterbach

Rachael Lauterbach

Design Fellow

Studying Illustration and Design at Lesley University in Cambridge. The union of community with individual expression is a driving factor in her work as a queer, Jewish artist. Determined to always find new ways of creating, she gathers mixed media materials of all kinds.

Steffi Walthall

Steffi Walthall

Design Fellow

Freelance illustrator and character concept artist with a BFA in Interactive Design and Game Development from the Savannah College of Art & Design. Her biggest aspiration is to create stories in games that feature nuanced depictions of people of color as leading roles in games and to become an activist for other women of color in game development.

Batool Haider

Batool Haider

Editorial Fellow

Professionally trained as an accountant, but a writer at heart. Looking to find the purpose of being whilst tackling the trivialities of life. In other words, an average girl finding comfort in silence, a hot cup of coffee forever in quest of a good book.

Shannon Aplin

Shannon Aplin

Editorial Fellow

Activist and artist with a love for travel and pop culture. She holds a B.A. in Biological Anthropology and loves nothing more than listening to her abuela tell old stories. When she isn’t writing, you can find her composing music, daydreaming, and fighting the stigma against mental illness.

Kate Maxwell

Kate Maxwell

Editorial Fellow

Senior at NC State University in Raleigh, pursuing a B.A. in Political Science with a double minor in Sociology and Journalism. She is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Residence Hall Honorary and Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. When not in a meeting, she enjoys hanging out with friends, sleeping as much as possible, and talking about her love of Tom Hiddleston.

Natasha D’Lima

Natasha D’Lima

Editorial Fellow

Part-time writer and full-time healthcare professional. Insane optimist, enthusiastic traveller & avid foodie. Loves a good story, in any form. Prefers unpredictability and doesn’t conform to most boxes/labels.

Injie Anis

Injie Anis

Editorial Fellow

Journalist and digital storyteller, having recently graduated from the National University of Science & Technology (NUST), specializing in Multimedia Journalism. She specializes in fashion, style, and life, making sure that she is heard all the way as well as helping others out with her writing.

Dominique Stewart

Dominique Stewart

Editorial Fellow

Creative with a BA in Magazine Media from Ball State University. She’s interested in understanding how humans and pop culture relates to one another. In her spare time, she enjoys hoarding books, gardening, and going on a deep dive into true crime podcasts. If every Hallmark murder mystery lead transformed into one person and was Afro-Latina, it would be her.

Iman Jafri

Iman Jafri

Editorial Fellow

Currently pursuing a Masters in Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, focusing on Islam and Muslims in America. She is particularly interested in media, communication, and heckling horrible movies that she also loves.

Anum Waseem

Anum Waseem

Editorial Fellow

Grad student majoring in English literature, known in certain circles for taking impromptu naps and starting fights about feminism in class. She believes in the power of critical discourse, diversity in representation, the perfect cup of chai, a good red lipstick, and Mr. Darcy’s hand flex (2005).

Laura Muth

Laura Muth

Editorial Fellow

Writer and researcher with a BA in political science from Johns Hopkins and an MA in international affairs from Boston University. They write at the intersection of security and human rights issues, with a special interest in gender, nationalism, racism, and religious identity.

Jackie Weisser

Jackie Weisser

Editorial Fellow

A writer and storyteller with a B.A. in Journalism and Media Studies and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies from Rutgers University. When she’s not ghostwriting paranormal romance novels, she writes and performs comedy. Jackie is an advocate for open conversations about mental health and chronic illness.

Kyndall Cunningham

Kyndall Cunningham

Editorial Fellow

Kyndall Cunningham is a Baltimore-based writer studying journalism and women’s studies. She subsists on tea, Broadway soundtracks, reruns of “Friends” and photos of Beyonce. Her writing explores the intersection of feminism with pop culture.

Nadira Wicaksana

Nadira Wicaksana

Editorial Fellow

Undergraduate student of English with a concentration in journalism at Framingham State University in Massachusetts. She’s part of the editorial board of her university newspaper and loves reading, writing, and heated debate.

Lauren Jones

Lauren Jones

Marketing Fellow

BA in English Literature from Marquette University. She is interested in reproductive justice, intersectional feminism, and domestic violence. She loves decaf coffee and hates the patriarchy.

Aqila Mumthaz

Aqila Mumthaz

Marketing Fellow

Harry Potter nerd with an interest in fashion, media, marketing, and human behavior. She’s an animal lover and can talk to you about any popular TV series (she’s watched most of them). She enjoys new experiences which include travel, food, learning something new and meeting new people.

Rukaiya Zohar

Rukaiya Zohar

Marketing Fellow

Graduated with Honours in BA Advertising, PR, and Media from Middlesex University in Dubai with a fondness for Digital Marketing. She is an avid reader of the fiction genre with an excessive knowledge of Harry Potter. She loves to blog and be creative while challenging the patriarchy to fight for what is right.

Ariana Islam

Ariana Islam

Marketing Fellow

Studying at the University of Missouri and wants to pursue a career in the fashion industry. When she’s not busy doing school work, you’ll find her scrolling through Twitter or catching up on her favorite shows on Netflix.

Nicole Thompson

Nicole Thompson

Marketing Fellow

Student at Queen’s University studying Psychology and Gender Studies. As a biracial student, she advocates for inclusivity and raising cultural diversity and global awareness on campus. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, baking, and dancing.

Iris Wong

Iris Wong

Marketing Fellow

Currently a Junior at UC Berkeley majoring in Philosophy although it used to be Psychology. She hopes to use her years of background in Psychology to bring new skills and perspectives to the table at The Tempest.

Areeta Wong

Areeta Wong

Tech Fellow

Incoming freshman at the University of California, Irvine who founded and organized Superposition, an award-winning all-girls hackathon dedicated to exposing high school girls to technology. Her support for computer science education has led her to direct HSHacks and become the Director of Event Management at Hack+, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to helping students venture into business and start organizations.

Monica Punjabi

Monica Punjabi

Growth Fellow

Pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and Engineering at Manipal Academy of Higher Education with a Minor in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Social Network Analysis.
Monica has a strong passion for traveling and sports. She is an effective communicator and leader with a strong interest in politics.

Yaramo Dione

Yaramo Dione

Growth Fellow

Student at Carnegie Mellon University studying Decision Science with an additional major in Creative Writing. In their spare time, they love designing and reading. Yaramo loves meeting new people and enjoys helping others when they are able to.

Azka Munir

Azka Munir

Video Fellow

Recent graduate of National University of Science and Technology. She loves to put her thoughts into words and on the screen. She also enjoys working with other creatives and people from different cultures in order to create diverse works.

Raya Abdelaal

Raya Abdelaal

Video Fellow

Recently graduated Temple University with a degree in broadcast journalism. Raya’s aim is to help shape communities in becoming more aware and open to different cultures and religions. She hopes to influence people through her writing and broadcasting ventures. Besides her weird obsession with listening to people talk, she enjoys crying into her pillow after watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, trolling Trump supporters on social media, and eating as much ice cream as she possibly can.

Audria Byrd

Audria Byrd

Video Fellow

Media Arts and African American Studies alumna of the University of South Carolina. All about art that brings both recognition and empowerment to underrepresented individuals. Filmmaker, poet, black, trans, queer, punk, etc.