Who We Are


Laila Alawa

Laila Alawa is the CEO and Founder of The Tempest. She is also the host for The Expose. Prior to founding The Tempest, Laila was a research specialist at Princeton University, studying socio-cognitive processing under the framework of community identity and belonging.

Shayan Farooq

Shayan Farooq is the Cofounder and Executive Creative Director of The Tempest. She is also the Executive Producer for The Expose. Prior to co-founding The Tempest, Shayan was creating mini documentaries profiling Pacific Asian artists for the USC Pacific Asia Museum of Pasadena.

Najira Ahmed

Najira Ahmed is the Cofounder and Chief Operating Officer at The Tempest. A graduate from Wellesley College, Najira has performed research on the histories of religious groups in New York for The Pluralism Project at Harvard University.

Aysha Khan

Aysha Khan is the Culture + Tech Editor at The Tempest. A digital journalist and editor based out of Baltimore, her twin passions are web production and editing news features. She studies multiplatform journalism and Middle Eastern affairs at the University of Maryland.

Lily Purqurian

Lily Purqurian is the Life + Entertainment Editor for The Tempest. Originally from San Diego, California, Lily Purqurian is an Iranian-American studying in France. Her father offered her enduring purpose after he shared his story and she hopes her work at Coming of Faith can do the same for plenty of others. In her free time she plays piano, reads the Economist, and reliably contributes to discussions on the philosophy of Matt Weiner.

Sidikha Ashraf

Sidikha Ashraf is the Associate Producer at The Expose. Her dream is to be a Weekend Update anchor on Saturday Night Live. Her first short film “Amna Speaks” about an 11 year old activist who fights against odds will be screened at CAAMfest 2015.

Tsedenya Bizani

Tsedenya Bizani is the Associate Producer for The Expose, a podcast at The Tempest. Tsedenya is a recent graduate from the University of Kansas and double majored in Political Science and International Studies supplemented with a Middle East studies minor. She is currently an Extern at Council on American-Islamic Relations-Chicago and is interested in expanding her knowledge regarding social movements and human rights.


Hannah Alkadi

Hannah Alkadi is the Design Fellow for The Tempest. She currently studies Mass Communication at Louisiana State University and ukulele on YouTube. Besides watching cat videos, she enjoys learning languages, watching Steven Universe, and discussing micronations.

Mariam Ahmed

Mariam Ahmed is an Editorial Fellow for The Tempest. She is currently pursuing a Master of Public Affairs degree at the University of Texas at Austin. Originally from Spring, Texas, she holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rice University.

Livi Burke

Livi Burke is the Editorial Fellow for The Tempest. Her work has been seen on sites such as Thought Catalog, Bustle, Spire&Co., and UnWritten. Some of her biggest passions are writing,photography, and blogging. When she isn’t working on a new article or blog post, she is either rewatching Gilmore Girls or obsessing over her favorite Subway sandwich.

Nishat Chowdhury

Nishat Chowdhury is the Creative Fellow for The Tempest. Nishat Chowdhury has a passion for fashion, drawing, and designing. After participating in the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, she fell in love with computer programming and hopes to pursue a career in this field.

Sara Alfageeh

Sara Alfageeh is the Creative Fellow for The Tempest. She is an Arab-American Illustration student based out of Boston. When she isn’t hunched over drawing, she’s too busy laughing at her own jokes. Her passion spans across all things nerdy, and works for a future with diverse representation in popular media. (Art blog: http://artbyalfa.tumblr.com)

Sehrish Khan-Williamson

Sarah Khan-Williamson is the Editorial Fellow at The Tempest. She is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School (MTS, Islamic Studies ’14) and George Mason University (BA, English and Religious Studies ’11) – with the hopes of obtaining many more degrees. She prides herself on being a global peace educator and leader for CISV, advocate for social justice and human rights, and her makeup skills.

Asma Elgamal

Asma Elgamal is the Editorial Fellow for The Tempest. Passionate reader, writer, and photographer. Proud Southpaw. She’s looking for new perspectives, questioning her surroundings, and drinking Moroccan mint tea by the gallon.

Saffiyah Mohammed

Saffiyah Mohammed is the Fashion Fellow at The Tempest. Caribbean woman but not by your preconceived notions. Fabulous – say MashaAllah, and working on being even moreso. There’s a Trini everywhere, so I’m the one here; Nicki Minaj is not my cousin, but can I twerk?

Aryanna Prasad

Aryanna Prasad is an Editorial Fellow with The Tempest for spring 2016. She is a Political Communications/International Studies senior at Louisiana State University. Having just finished a year studying abroad in Paris and Dubai, she’s ready to catch up with family, friends and her Twitter feed. In her spare time, she’s snapping photos, searching for new places to travel and gossiping like an aunty about current events *sips chai*

Carly Haufe

Carly Haufe is an Editorial Fellow for The Tempest. She is a native of Michigan. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2015 with a MA in Philosophy and Literature. She loves dancing and art, and is superb at giving hugs and yelling. People say she’s intimidating, but she’s not sure what that means.

Nadia Eldemerdash

Nadia Eldemerdash is an Editorial Fellow at The Tempest. She is a writer focused on migration, identity, and media. Favorite things include junk food, packing luggage, and the idea of exercise. You can find her on Twitter at @DemerN.