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About Our Staff

Omar Aziz, Director

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, 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.
Alaa Mido, Community and Student Orgs Outreach intern
Alaa Mido, Community and Student Org Outreach Intern
Alaa Mido is our Community and Student Org Outreach intern. She is currently a third-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, Marketing and Communications Intern
Hadiyah Waseem is our Marketing and Communications Intern. She is currently a second-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 Fright Night. While everyone was on edge due to the suspense of the movie, the atmosphere would balance with the light-hearted jokes. She recalls how funny it was that everyone was cracking jokes and having a good time while watching a horror movie.
 
Isabella Annabi, Social Media and Marketing Intern
Isabella Annabi, Social Media and Marketing Intern
Isabella Annabi is the MESC's Social Media and Marketing Intern. She is working towards her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a Marketing concentration and is expecting to graduate in June 2023.

This is Isabella's second year being a MESC intern. She loves the MESC community, and how the MESC creates a space where people from different backgrounds can come together to share their knowledge and culture with each other. Her favorite MESC event this year was our pumpkin carving event, because it brought a lot of people together and each pumpkin design showcased everyone's fun personalities! 

Isabella is Jordanian and loves learning more about her culture. She is also a big foodie! She loves trying new foods and learning to bake new recipes! Her favorite family dish is her grandma's knafeh.
Jeanine Nassar, IMPACT Intern working with the Arab American Civic Council
 
Jeanine Nassar, Impact Intern
Jeanine Nassar is our IMPACT Intern working with the Arab American Civic Council. She is a second-year Political Science Administrative Studies major and is pre-law. 
 
Jeanine is Palestinian and Jordanian. She loves working in the MESC. Her favorite event in the MESC so far has been the pumpkin carving. It was one of the very first events back on campus. The room was packed, the pumpkins smelled SO bad, the tools were breaking. Super chaotic, but so fun. Everyone in the room was laughing and having a good time.
 
When she isn't busy, she LOVES dividing her time between criminal minds and Law and Order SVU while chugging yerba mates!
Leyan Elkatat, Diversity Council Member and RSAC Representative
Leyan Elkatat, RSAC Representative and Diversity Council Member
Leyan Elkatat is our RSAC Representative and Diversity Council member. She is currently a third-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.
 
Maimoona Naveed, Community Outreach Intern for First-years, Transfers, and Alumni
Maimoona Naveed, Community Outreach Intern for First Years, Transfers, and Alumni
Maimoona Naveed is our Community Outreach Intern for First Years, Transfers, and Alumni. 
 
Maimoona is Pakistani-American who has a plethora of hobbies. Some of those include reading, sewing scrunchies, watching Gilmore Girls, and spending quality time with her friends and family(she is the Rory Gilmore of MESC!). 
 
In her time working with the MESC, she is responsible for  coordinating events for first years, transfers, and alumni. She makes sure that each person is feeling welcomed and adjusted to our community and the ucr campus. In all the events she has organized her favorite thus far would be our cookie decorating event!