Meet Our Summer 2017 Next Leaders!

Back row, left to right: Razan Azzarkani, Giulia McDonnell, Sophie Bandarkar, Leilani Ganser. Middle row, left to right: Aniqa Raihan, Chika Ekemezie, Aditi Katti, Alyssa Aquino. Front row, left to right: Victoria Borneman, Liz Drinkwater, Myacah Sampson.


Aditi Katti — Global Economy

Aditi is a rising senior at the University of Michigan studying Public Policy with a minor in Economics. She hopes to attend law school one day and ultimately work in the federal government as a policymaker. Her policy interests revolve around economic inequality and poverty policy, especially as it relates to women and marginalized communities. In college, she’s researched socioeconomic segregation in Michigan communities at the Citizen’s Research Council and has also interned for her local State Representative, Kristy Pagan, in Lansing. She is extremely interested in electoral politics and has worked on a multiple campaigns, including Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and the Democratic Coordinated Campaign in Michigan.

Outside of school, Aditi is involved in a variety of extracurriculars. She is currently on the board for Yoni Ki Baat, a social justice organization for women of color, which provides a space for women of color on campus to share their stories. She is also a part of Women and Gender in Public Policy, an organization which works to engage more women in public policy and provide professional development for those who want to go into public service. Aditi has also been dancing since she was six years old, learning a classical Indian dance style — Bharatanatyam. In college, she joined a competitive Bhangra team, MBT, where she’s been able to compete nationally. Aditi spends the remainder of her time catching up on TV, reading Harry Potter, and obsessively checking FiveThirtyEight.

Alyssa Aquino — Communications

Alyssa is from Hamden, Connecticut. A second-generation American — but top quality citizen — she indulged her internationalist background by writing extensively on it to attain her B.A. in International Studies from Vassar College. Her 92-page behemoth on women migrant workers in Israel is the pinnacle of her academic interests in feminized global migration, the Southeast Asian diaspora, and the role of the exogenous Other within settler colonial societies. It is also an exemplar of inaccessibility within academic-style writing — it won her university honors. As a student, she was heavily involved with her university’s ALANA and Women’s Centers, case studies in trying to add some color to the ivory tower. In addition to her voluntary unpaid labor for the university, she worked on several political campaigns and can subsequently tell you all about Elizabeth Warren’s 2014 platform.

Wanting to understand multiculturalism within the French context, she worked in a non-profit in France that staged legal interventions in the human rights abuses of refugees and immigrants to the French state. Discovering that the French aren’t that different from the Americans, she willfully forgot all her French language skills. Upon graduation, she completed coursework in Peking University through a Chinese Government Scholarship. (This is her only recorded financial tie to a foreign government.) In her spare time, Alyssa enjoys withholding her money from corporate entities profiting off of human suffering and analyzing racial politics within K-pop group f(x)’s latest music video. She aspires to a career in political satire.

Aniqa Raihan — Fundraising and Development

Aniqa is a writer, activist, and recent graduate of the George Washington University. Aniqa got her start in activism at CODEPINK: Women for Peace, and has also worked with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and DC Action Lab. Aniqa was the lead organizer of the Rally for Refugees at Reagan National Airport, the biggest airport protest in the country in the wake of President Trump’s Muslim Ban. She also assisted in planning the 2017 People’s Climate March, which was attended by over 150,000 people.

More recently, Aniqa spent her last months at GW calling for change in the university’s policies regarding sexual assault and divestment from companies who play a role in perpetuating the Israeli occupation. Aniqa’s interests include reading, traveling, showing people pictures of her pet rabbit, intersectional feminism, and the idea of a thriving multi-party democracy.

Chika Ekemezie — Criminalization of Poverty and Race

Chika is a rising senior at American University, double majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies: Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government and Women and Gender Studies. She hails from Eastampton, New Jersey, a small, South Jersey suburb. At American, Chika is dedicated to student activism, working at her university’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion as the Undergraduate Coordinator for Outreach and Community Building, working as a liaison between students and professional staff, and will be serving as the President of American University’s American Association of University Women after serving as the Vice President of Political Action in the 2016-2017 school year.

Chika is dedicated to social justice, specifically advocating for marginalized communities through all methods of activism, whether it’s lobbying, legislating, or marching on the streets. She enjoys listening to music and podcasts (nearly 24/7) and obsessing over Supreme Court Justices.

Leilani Ganser — Climate Policy

Leilani is a rising junior Political Science major at Reed College with a focus on American public policy and the intersections of race and ethnicity in politics. Throughout her time at Reed she has been active in the Reedies Against Racism movement: a push to closely examine and remedy institutional racism at Reed’s own campus. She works with the citizen lobbyists at the National Organization for Rare Disorders to push legislation in the Oregon legislature to protect healthcare for all Oregon residents.

Leilani’s current project is the organization of a symposium on campus sexual assault for colleges in the Pacific Northwest to educate, teach, and organize for more protections for students and more resources for survivors. Leilani formerly thought her career path would lead her to academia but she later set her sights to government when she realized she didn’t have the stomach for politics.

Myacah Sampson — Criminalization of Poverty and Race

Myacah was born and raised by single mother in the Four Corners Region of New Mexico. She holds a B.A. in Public Policy and Ethnic Studies from Brown University where she wrote her senior capstone on the history of racialized violence in her home state.

Myacah was the Coordinator of the Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Relationship abuse at Brown. In this position she led efforts to promote healthy relationships and center the voices of survivors in sexual assault prevention. She was also Co-Coordinator of Native Americans at Brown and worked alongside other Indigenous to get the University to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. She plans to enter a PhD program in American Studies next fall.

Razan Azzarkani — Communications

Razan hails from the Washington, D.C. area and recently received a multidisciplinary degree in Global Affairs from George Mason University in Virginia. As a college student, Razan interned with the ONE Campaign, an organization aimed at ending extreme global poverty and preventable diseases in the Field and Campaigns department. She was previously an intern on Capitol Hill and prior to that, worked with the Muslim Public Affairs Council helping to shape public opinion about Muslim Americans. Most recently, Razan worked with Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest honor society for the liberal arts, humanities, and sciences as an Events and Advocacy assistant.

Since January, Razan has worked with the Communications team at IPS and is looking forward to expanding her role within the organization as a Next Leader and using the summer to find her niche as a young professional within the world of international affairs and public policy. Razan is enthusiastic about social justice issues related to Muslim female empowerment, international human rights law, the politics of race and gender as it applies to social equality, and the influence of lobbying and money in politics on the American legislative system. In her free time (and not so free time), Razan enjoys engaging in Twitter wars over DC sports, staying up to ungodly hours Netflixing, and getting too emotionally invested in the Washington Capitals NHL team.  Self-proclaimed Harry Potter fanatic. Captain America is her sidekick.

Sophie Bandarkar — Criminalization of Poverty and Race

Sophie is a rising Junior at UC Berkeley studying Political Economy and Public Policy.  She grew up in France and the Bay Area in a French-Indian household. Her academic interests include globalization, economy, political theory, South Asia, prison reform, immigration, and data science. At Berkeley, she is heavily involved in a student government office called the Student Advocate’s office, where she serves as a caseworker for student-respondents going through the school sanctioning process and helps address pervasive student issues through campus-wide policy initiatives. Sophie has also worked as a Restorative Justice student facilitator both through UC Berkeley’s Restorative Justice Center, and in the Bay Area.

Additionally, Sophie serves as the director for the Human Rights of the Incarcerated coalition, through which she has gained valuable experience in grass-root organizing, and developed a student-led seminar on the intersectionality of mass incarceration. Sophie hopes to pursue a career in criminal justice and prison diversion.

Victoria Borneman — Saul Landau Fellow (Multimedia/Video/Web Communications)

A Florida native, Victoria believes in a strong work ethic, elegance in design, and execution and collaboration in performance. Victoria has been active in deep-rooted community building since her arrival at Georgetown as a Community Scholar.  During her four years at Georgetown University she studied Government, Computer Science and Spanish.  She has excelled in Photography, Videography and Journalism, and possesses specialized experience in Criminal Justice reform. She was a soloist in the Resonant Essence Live! A cappella group.

Victoria has lived in several different locations along the East Coast of the United States and has the fondest memories for the rain forests and jungles of Ecuador as well as the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area with trips to Great Falls, Virginia, the Smithsonian Museums along the Mall, and rock climbing and hiking trips along the Tidal Basin and State Parks. Her time abroad includes Nature and Culture focused study in Ecuador’s Amazon and Galapagos Islands. These global network initiatives have enabled her to develop diverse relationships with those of alike interests and pursuits. Her drive and passion is to influence positive change in the world. She is excited about the possibilities and experiences to be gained from the Fellow opportunity as a Saul Landau Multimedia Intern. She will receive her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from Georgetown University in May 2017.