2022 Award Recipients
Undergraduate Award Recipient
Mehrin Ali (CAS ’22)
Mehrin Ali (she/her/hers) has been a trailblazing leader in the betterment of historically marginalized communities—both at New York University and in New York City. Much like the efforts and commitment exhibited by Dr. King and Dr. Carey, Mehrin exudes kindness and compassion and harbors a deep commitment to change as she engages with people across differences.
From the onset of her tenure at NYU, Mehrin has connected with schools and grassroots organizations that support communities impacted by basic needs insecurity. For the past six years, she has directly contributed to the educational development of dozens of low-income students at schools throughout underserved areas of Manhattan and Queens. Continuing her work in these communities, Mehrin has regularly helped deliver food and other basic supplies to community members that are unhoused and/or food insecure. Mehrin was elected chair of NYU’s Student Government Assembly (SGA), president of the Senior Class Activities Board, and as a senator at-large representing students experiencing food insecurity and basic needs insecurity—using each of her roles to advocate for change through the expansion of food access and financial aid. Mehrin is also the president of NYU Share Meals and the co-founder of the start-up, Food For Thought. Both initiatives provide students with the opportunity to share meals with their peers while creating community for those experiencing food insecurity. Most recently, Mehrin founded and serves as the president of Mu Delta Alpha at NYU—a social and professional sorority for Muslim women dedicated to service.
Staying true to Dr. King’s holistic approach to advocacy, Mehrin regularly advocates for change within communities, inclusive of and beyond her own identities and experiences. Attending protests against inhumane conditions at prisons and jails, advocating for student workers’ rights, and helping students with disabilities are just a few of her wide-reaching advocacy activities which positively impact her communities.
In describing Mehrin’s dedication and passion for the upliftment of people and communities, Mehrin’s nominator stated, “Mehrin has never met someone who she is not able to find the good in and does not care about. She could be getting four hours of sleep a week, swamped between her various classes, jobs, and volunteer positions, and she’ll still be asking you if there’s anything she can help you with.
Graduate Award Recipient
Khadija Kamara (GPH ’22)
Working from an intersectional perspective, Khadija Kamara (she/her/hers) serves alongside historically marginalized communities to effect change. In addition to teaching people with a range of disabilities and engaging in racial and gender work on a global scale, Khadija worked as a contract tracer during COVID-19. In alignment with the leadership of Dr. King and Dr. Carey, Khadija leads with humility, compassion, and a spirit of change-making, specifically through a lens of public health.
Khadija travels annually to her home country of Sierra Leone to organize awareness campaigns on issues affecting women and girls. As part of these efforts, she distributes free reusable pads in areas where access to these items is limited. A voice for women and girls in Freetown, Khadija is making an impact in Sierra Leonean government as the relevant authorities have begun to focus on the issues she is addressing.
Khadija also works as a research assistant with the Section on Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use—a unit of NYU Langone Medical Center—to better understand and design interventions that provide underserved patients with substance use disorders better access to care through the use of technology. She is passionate about bringing awareness and change around health within the Black community. Through a storytelling project, Khadija is currently working to create a documentary about high maternal death rates among Black women in the US.
Khadija’s nominator shared the powerful quote: “Khadija would notice a girl that's by herself—she makes the girl feel included and not lonely. In a world where people don't even put effort to make others feel safe, Khadija does the opposite. She makes an effort to spread love and peace to everyone at no cost.”