The purpose of Muslim Life at Columbia is to create, within this very diverse body, a united community that meets the spiritual, social, and intellectual needs of all Muslims on Columbia’s campuses, a community in which all Barnard/Columbia Muslims feel they can participate and belong.
Meet the Executive Boards of the different Muslim groups at Columbia/Barnard and our Muslim Life Coordinator!
Zara Tayebjee, this year's co-social chair, is a sophomore at Barnard College studying Political Science and Mathematics-Statistics. While she was born in NY, she currently lives abroad in Nairobi, Kenya. In her free time, Zara enjoys playing Quiz Bowl and practicing yoga.
Yunus Kovankaya is serving as the MSA Vice President for the 2020-2021 school year. Born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida, Yunus is excited to be part of a Muslim community as diverse as Columbia's MSA in New York. As a Muslim with Turkish-Taiwanese heritage, he appreciates the different cultural communities across the city, spending his free time exploring Muslim neighborhoods across the city. For him, the most enjoyable part of the MSA was meeting Muslims outside of the Columbia community through inter-MSA events like charity week and MSA showdown. This year, in spite the pandemic, he hopes to find unique ways to share the New York Muslim experience. Outside of the MSA, he is involved in Engineers Without Borders. He is planning to major in Civil Engineering and minor in MESAS.
Hometown: Togo/Bronx, New York
Youdane is a junior in Columbia College majoring in Human Rights. She currently works off-campus as a research assistant with the African-American Institute. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., On campus she is an ASP (Academic Success Programs) mentor.
Tasnima Zaman is a sophomore at Columbia College. She is one of the political chairs for Columbia MSA. Tasnima has an interest in international development with the potential of majoring in Economics and MESAAS. As a native New Yorker, Tasnima loves to explore the different cultures of the city, especially through food. In her free time, she enjoys learning new things, painting, and listening to Reggaeton and Afrobeats.
Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya
Rehan is a sophomore at Columbia College majoring in Data Science. Her interests include but are not limited to Spirituality, Entrepreneurship and Social Justice. In her free time, Rehan enjoys exploring NYC, solving sudoku and discussing Africa's political and entrepreneurial culture.
Rawda Fawaz is a rising 2L at Columbia Law School, where she focuses on human and civil rights. She graduated from the University of VA in 2019 with a B.A in Political & Social thought and African Studies. She's very excited to serve as co-president of MLSA in 2019/2020. In her free time, she can be found in the Columbia Musalah drinking chai!
Feel free to contact her with any questions at [email protected].
Rania Alshafie is a junior at Barnard and the MSA secretary. She is studying Computer Science with a minor in Science and Public Policy! She is very excited to be part of an amazing team that will help grow the Muslim presence on campus and help grow the community!
Nilofar Rahimzadeh is the MLSA Co-President for the 2021-2022 academic year. She is from Long Island, NY and graduated from Fordham Lincoln Center’s Honor College in 2018 with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science. She is a rising 2L interested in Intellectual Property and Litigation. Before Columbia, she worked at the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Department of Justice and completed an SEO fellowship at Debevoise & Plimpton. Besides her leadership with MLSA, she is also Vice President of Outreach for the Middle Eastern Law Students Association and is a member of the American Intellectual Property Law [AIPLA] Moot Court. Nilo is a life-long New Yorker and can probably be found at brunch on any given Sunday or in Jerome Greene Hall mooching off the free coffee!
Nasro Abbas is the MLSA Co-President for the 2021-2022 academic year. At Columbia Law School, she is interested in studying the intersection of social justice and the law. She studied English Literature and Philosophy at Winona State University in Winona, MN. Prior to law school, she served as a Youth Development Volunteer in the Peace Corps in Morocco. When not reading cases, Nasro tries to make her way through her own ever-expanding reading list or can be found exploring the City.
Myesha Choudhury was born and raised in Southwest Florida. She will be serving as the Co-Media Chair for the 2020-2021 year, and she is very excited to help keep everyone connected during these uncertain times. Myesha is a rising sophomore on the pre-med track and hoping to major in Neuroscience and Human Rights. She is very passionate about humanitarian aid and improving medical access in vulnerable areas— especially in the context of the refugee crisis. To pursue her passions, she started the Doctors Without Borders Student Chapter at CU. She is also the President of Club Bangla this upcoming year! If you are interested in either of these, please feel free to reach out to her!
Mikyle Hassanali is a senior majoring in East Asian Languages and Cultures and Political Science. As a Co-Media Coordinator, he aims to produce and deliver meaningful and artistic content, incorporating his passions for Arabic calligraphy and graphic design. He also hopes to continue helping MSA become a more inclusive and vibrant space for people of all different backgrounds, and as this is his fourth and final year on the MSA executive board, he hopes to make it the best one yet inshallah.
Hometown: Newark, New Jersey
Maymouna is a History-Human Rights combined major in the Barnard College class of 2020. Her main interests are the intersection of public health infrastructures -or lack thereof, in post-colonial states. She dedicates her time to Palestine and Yemen national student organizing as well as being a peer-educator at Well-Woman. Outside of academia, Maymouna enjoys cooking dinners for her friends and listening to podcasts.
Maryam Asenuga is the MLSA Vice President for the 2021-2022 academic year. She is originally from Rhode Island and graduated from Duke University in 2020 where she studied Arabic and Public Policy and was a member of Duke's Muslim Students Association. At Columbia Law School, Maryam has an interest in litigation and criminal justice work. In addition to her leadership with MLSA, she is a staff editor of the Columbia Journal of Race and Law, a member of the Frederick Douglass Moot Court, and is a Representative for First Generation Professionals and the California Society.
Mariana Mohsen is a sophomore at Barnard studying chemistry, and she will be serving as this year’s Event Coordinator. Mariana is a native New Yorker, and she truly believes the city is the only place to be. In her free time, she likes trying new food, spending time with friends, and playing badminton. As a Shia student, she hopes to use her platform to amplify the voices of all Muslims on campus. If you ever see her around, don’t be afraid to say salaam and give her a hug!
Hometown: Teaneck, New Jersey
Isra is a GS Senior studying Evolutionary Biology. Her main interest is the intersection between human rights and healthcare. She serves as co-president of Social Justice Medicine and is a Board Officer of the Women In Medicine (WIM) committee of Columbia’s AMSA (American Medical Student Association) chapter. Beyond school she enjoys good conversations, exchanging smiles with strangers, and lots of tea!
Hometown: Bronx, New York
Hawa is a junior at Barnard College majoring in Economics. She works as a Library Assistant for the Milstein Center and is also a Speaking Fellow who helps their peers tackle challenges such as clarifying presentations and apprehension towards speaking, with the belief that there is not one type of “good speech!” Outside of academia you can hear her interview people for her podcast H-Suite Chats that spotlights the voices of young adults who challenge the college narrative and are contemplating what success means to them!
Hajar Khalid is a rising senior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Psychology and one of the MSA political chairs this year. She is most interested in issues concerning criminal justice reform including voting rights restoration as well as the intersection between incarceration and mental health issues that accounts for such a large percentage of the present prison population. Outside of academic interests, she loves poetry and singing in her free time. She also considers herself a boba connoisseur after making as many homemade boba flavors as possible during quarantine. If you ever want to talk about the crippling effects of systemic racism that is embedded within the prison industrial complex or about how to (kind of) survive a midlife career crisis, or anything else at all, reach out to her anytime!
Foysal Uddin Bejoy is a junior at Columbia College and MSA’s Charity Chair. He is on the pre-med track and concentrating in Ethnicity and Race Studies with an individualized focus on race, health, and human rights. Foysal plans to work in underserved communities and fight for equitable and empathetic healthcare. Foysal is a product of the concrete jungle and thus chose to stay in NYC for college and hopes to stay in NYC post-graduation. Some of his hobbies include writing and performing poetry, going on bike rides, hooping in the city, and spending time with his family.
Hometown: Bronx, New York
Fatou is a part of the Class of 2022 at Barnard College majoring in Anthropology. She also serves as the campus liaison for MSA. You can consistently find her in Diana with a smoothie and/or fries!
SIPA Muslim Commons Vice President
SIPA Muslim Commons President
Edna Egal is a junior in Columbia College majoring in computer science and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. She currently serves as the Community Outreach Chair and is incredibly excited to work to create more connectivity between Columbia MSA and the greater Harlem community. Outside of class, she enjoys trying new foods (which are really just 2AM McDonalds orders), sailing, and reading.
Danya Jafri is a sophomore at Barnard and will be serving as the Ahlul Bayt (as) Chair this year! Danya grew up in Connecticut and is interested in studying Organismal and Physiological Biology and Public Health on the pre-medical track. As your Ahlul Bayt (as) Chair, Danya will serve as a representative for the collective Shia voice on campus–– whether it be remotely or in-person, or a mix of both, she can’t wait to organize events for and with the Shia community at Columbia and the Greater NYC Area! Outside of MSA, you can find Danya editing for Columbia Spectator, advocating for GlobeMed, reading Urdu poetry, and of course, venturing the streets of New York in her free time. She is very excited to meet incoming MSA members and attend all the wonderful events put on by the board this upcoming year!
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Ciani is a Barnard student in the class of 2022 where she majors in sociology with a minor in secondary urban education. She aspires to be a middle school studies teacher and loves to talk about the sociology of education. On campus she’s been involved with Matriculate, Teach for America, Barnard SGA’s (Student Government Association) committee on Inclusion and Equity and Columbia MSA’s Charity Week Committee. She loves to talk about her hometown, so feel free to use that as a conversation starter!
Hometown: Bronx, New York
Cesay is a senior at Barnard College majoring in Urban Studies. Outside of MANSA, she is a fellow at the Empirical Reasoning Center (ERC) and is really passionate about the intersections of data, community development and urban planning.
Brandon Kaan Marco is a rising senior in the school of General Studies majoring in Anthropology and pursuing the Pre-Med track and the MSA General Studies representative. He is currently writing a thesis related to the field of disability studies, an area of study and activism that he would like to engage with further. When not busy with school, he makes an effort to explore the city as much as he can, exercise, and socialize with friends. He also serves as the president of the Columbia Turkish Students Association.
SIPA Muslim Commons Treasurer
Areej Qadeer is a sophomore at Barnard and is so excited to serve as MSA’s Co-Social Chair this year! She grew up in Bridgewater, New Jersey and plans to study Urban Studies and Public Health on the pre-med track. Areej is interested in the intersection of healthcare and activism and is excited to host networking events for Muslim students to explore their academic passions. Outside of MSA, you can find Areej singing on Columbia Sur, making podcasts for the Journal of Global Health, or shopping while trying to find the best desserts in NYC! Areej looks forward to welcoming the first-years to campus and keeping the community connected virtually all year!
Ammran Mohamed is a sophomore in Columbia College studying Computer Science. She is one of the religious chairs. Outside of school, she loves learning more about theology and language.
Amana Mohiuddin is a junior chemistry major at Barnard and the MSA treasurer. On campus, she is involved in Club Bangla, peer tutoring, and environmental science research. In her spare time, she likes to babysit, explore (get lost in) the city, and have picnics with her friends. She’ll miss campus this fall but is very excited for her position as treasurer this year.
Aiman Najah is currently a rising sophomore in the School of Engineering and Applied Science pursuing Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science and one of the MSA religious chairs. A native of Massachusetts (Danvers, to be exact), Aiman enjoys spending his time on campus working with clubs like Formula SAE and the Engineering Recruitment Committee, as well as exploring museums, new restaurants to eat, and hanging out with friends on campus. Inshallah wa bi’ithnillah, Aiman hopes to establish more inclusivity amongst the muslim community on campus, and introduce a new means of spiritual reflection and engagement through virtual programming.
SIPA Muslim Commons Communications Secretary