About Our Staff
Omar Aziz, Director
Omar Aziz currently serves as Director of the Middle Eastern Student Center. His experience includes working in student affairs, teaching, and community organizing. He has worked as a Coordinator for Residential Education at UC Santa Cruz, taught 10th grade math with the Teach for America program in Miami, FL and separately taught in Ramallah, Palestine. Omar attended UC Santa Cruz as an undergraduate and Rowan University for a Master's degree in Higher Education Administration. Most recently, Omar served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant/Course Instructor at George Mason University where he is currently working on completing his PhD. Omar's research interests include racial identity formation; immigrant experiences; Arab, South Asian, Afghan, and Muslim identity development; diversity in higher education, and looks forward to using this knowledge to make universities more inclusive for all its students.
Omar's community work includes serving as Director of the Afghan-American Conference and co-founder of The Samovar Network (an online forum and podcast discussing issues affecting the Afghan diaspora). He grew up in the Bay Area and works tirelessly to convince doubters that he is a lifelong Golden State Warriors fan and never rode on any bandwagon.
Ali Saadat, Program Coordinator
Ali Saadat is MESC's Program Coordinator. A proud UCR alum, Ali graduated from UCR with a B.A. in History and is passionate about supporting and serving the SWANA community. Ali has also served with the nonprofit Afghan American Community Organization.
Ali is always coming up with new and exciting programming centered around relevant community issues and highlighting the diversity of SWANA culture.
Ali is Herati Afghan-American and enjoys watching and playing sports (his favorite teams are Chelsea FC, Los Angeles Lakers and Galaxy, and the Buffalo Bills) and learning languages specifically Farsi, Spanish, German, and Arabic.
Insia Rizvi, Social Media & Marketing Intern
Insia Rizvi is our Social Media & Marketing Intern for this year. Insia is a fourth-year Pakistani-American student pursuing her Business Marketing degree.
Insia loves creating her own art and going horseback riding in her free time. Her art successfully translates into creative and decorative flyers for MESC!
She loves that MESC focuses on creating an inclusive and safe community. Insia appreciates that this space allows individuals with different backgrounds and identities to come together and create a second family.
Maimoona Naveed, Community Outreach Intern for Community and Student Organizations
Maimoona Naveed is our Community Outreach Intern for Community and Student Organizations.
Maimoona is a fourth-year Pakistani-American working toward her Psychology degree. Some of her many hobbies include reading, sewing scrunchies, and watching Gilmore Girls(she is the Rory Gilmore of MESC!).
In her time working with the MESC, she is responsible for coordinating events with student organizations. She makes sure that each person is feeling welcomed and adjusted to our community and the UCR campus. She loves that MESC empowers students to speak their minds as well as helping them embrace their respective cultures. Her all time favorite MESC event was our Welcome Event!
Alaa Mido, IMPACT Intern for Glocally Connected
Alaa Mido is our IMPACT Intern for Glocally Connected. She is currently a fourth-year business major.
Alaa was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria, left in 2012, and then moved to the U.S. in 2014. Some of her many hobbies include reading, cooking and going to the gym.
She loves working with the MESC as it has been fun and insightful. She loves getting to work with awesome interns, meet new people, and work on different projects. Alaa’s role involves meeting with people, speaking on behalf of MESC, and working on community and campus projects. Her favorite event this year was the pumpkin carving event. She fondly recalls the upbeat and energetic atmosphere in the MESC as she saw multiple people coming together to have a good time and carve lots of pumpkins.
Hadiyah Waseem, Marketing and Communications Intern
Hadiyah Waseem is our Marketing and Communications Intern. She is currently a third-year Biology student on the pre-med track expected to graduate in Spring of 2024.
She is a Pakistani-American who enjoys reconnecting with her roots through music, food, and various cultural activities. While embracing her own culture she simultaneously loves to learn about other cultures and connect with people.
Her hobbies include a variety of things including skateboarding, painting, traveling, and spending quality time with her friends and family. She is a firm believer in trying everything and anything at least once!
Hadiyah’s favorite memory thus far was ME Week. It was a week packed with events that ranged from cultural to educational and through all of them she enjoyed seeing the students of UCR come together to celebrate themselves and their cultures.
Hasan Ismail, IMPACT Intern for Arab American Civic Council
Hasan Ismail is the IMPACT intern working with the Arab American Civic Council. He is a 3rd-year Iraqi-American student currently working towards his Bachelor's degree in Psychology.
Hasan loved coming to MESC prior to working with us. He loves that MESC provides a safe space for the SWANA communities on campus at UCR with a focus on bringing the community together!
When he isn't grinding away with school and work Hasan dabbles in a handful of hobbies such as snowboarding, riding fixed-gear bicycles, and skating. If you see him around campus be sure to say hi!
Jeanine Nassar, RSAC Diversity Council Representative
Jeanine Nassar is our RSAC Diversity Council Representative. She is a third-year Political Science Administrative Studies major and is pre-law.
Jeanine is Palestinian and Jordanian. She loves working in the MESC and is well-loved around MESC. Her favorite part about MESC is that she is able to meet new people every day!
When she isn't busy, she LOVES dividing her time between Criminal Minds and drinking yerba mates.
Leyan Elkatat, Community Outreach Intern for First Years, Transfers and Alumni
Leyan Elkatat is our Community Outreach Intern for First Years, Transfers, and Alumni. She is currently a fourth-year UCR student majoring in Education and is expected to graduate in 2023.
Leyan comes from Lebanese descent and was born and raised in Southern California. Her biggest passions are singing, dancing, and making others smile with her positive attitude.
Leyan helps the other interns in preparing for the events MESC hosts and is close to the community built ready to address their concerns by bringing them up to the Diversity Council, a council made up of student representatives from each Ethnic & Gender Center that speak for the students to the University.
Her favorite event by far is ME Week, where during the spring quarter the MESC focuses on one country and celebrates the culture of said country for an entire week.