Ayat Husseini

Major: International Affairs/Anthropology and Sociology

Minor: Religious Studies

Thesis Title: Precarity and Insecurity in Contemporary Beirut

My journey to Lafayette was a long and complicated one. While I knew shortly after stepping foot on campus that it would be my community and my home for four years, cultural boundaries and my family’s anxieties meant that actually attending Lafayette would be an uphill battle. Four years after my first visit, I find myself back in my quaint Astoria home during the COVID-19 pandemic reflecting upon those first moments on Lafayette’s campus and just how eager I was to join this community of thinkers. Little did I know at the time that Lafayette is built upon artists, advocates, and engaged community members as much as it is built upon thinkers.

The Lafayette Ideal is someone who not only has the courage to ask difficult, complex questions both in and out of the classroom, but the bravery to act upon the answers they receive. In my four years at Lafayette, I have been pushed to discover the questions that interest me and empowered to develop the tools necessary to take action. In my studies, this led me to undertake a research project in Beirut, Lebanon, to better understand the structural forces that have rendered Beirutis vulnerable. In my activism, this drove my commitment to the work of refugee resettlement to support families as they adjust to a system which has incredibly high barriers to success. As an engaged leader in our campus community, I have dedicated myself to serving underprivileged groups through the principles of social justice and civic engagement. I believe that the Lafayette Ideal also empowers others to be engaged, active members of society. While my college experience began as one of self-advocacy, the four years that I have spent at Lafayette have provided me with the capacity and the courage to advocate for others.

Other Information:
Academic Activity/Award 1:
Honors Thesis in Anthropology and Sociology|1|My thesis looks at the development, experience, and confrontation of urban insecurity in Beirut, Lebanon. I analyze the historical development of particular conditions of insecurity that are fundamental to the Beiruti experience through three main periods in recent Lebanese history. Further, I make use of data collected through immersive fieldwork and interviews with Beirutis in the summer of 2019, as well as a growing body of literature on the city to discuss the lived experience of urban vulnerability on the eve of the 2019 revolution.
Academic Activity/Award 2:
Ethnographic Research Fund Award Recipient|1|Awarded in Spring of 2019 by the Anthropology and Sociology department to fund my research trip to Beirut, Lebanon to conduct fieldwork for my honors thesis.
Academic Activity/Award 3:
Dean’s List|4|I have qualified for Dean’s List for 6 semesters (7 anticipating this spring).
Academic Activity/Award 4:
Sigma Iota Rho International Studies Honor Society|2|Inducted Spring 2019.
Academic Activity/Award 5:
Pi Sigma Alpha Government & Law Honors Society|1|Inducted Fall 2019.
Academic Activity/Award 6:
Alpha Alpha Alpha First‐Generation College Student Honors Society|2|Inducted Spring 2019.
Academic Activity/Award 7:
CITLS Inclusive Teaching Student Fellow |1|I was able to to work with Dr. Tracie M. Addy to co‐author an article inclusive pedagogy published in Faculty Focus. I worked with another student fellow to develop a web‐based resource for faculty on inclusive pedagogy and co‐created a training podcast on inclusive teaching pedagogy for new faculty orientation and training.
Academic Activity/Award 8:
Writing Associate|1|I worked as a Writing Associate in a first‐year seminar “Feed the World: the Grand Challenge of Global Hunger” in Fall 2018. In Spring 2019 I was lucky enough to have been selected to work with Dr. Tingting Kang as an ESL Writing Associate. Along with weekly meetings to understand the process of second language acquisition and the needs of ESL writers, I worked with Dr. Kang to develop a weekly newsletter for ESL students and update the College’s resource guide for ESL students that is now widely used by the College Writing Program. I also held weekly drop‐in hours specifically for ESL learners.
Campus Service Activity /Award 1:
Head Resident Advisor|1|Currently work as the Head Resident Advisor of the South/Marquis staff. In my role, I supervise, manage, and support a staff of thirteen Resident Advisors. Along with planning and executing weekly staff meetings, I approve program reports and budget expenditures from Resident Advisors on my staff. I serve as the intermediary between student staff and professional staff to advocate for, support, and vocalize the concerns and needs of my staff members and their residents.
Campus Service Activity /Award 2:
Resident Advisor|2|I served as a Resident Advisor in Marquis Hall during my Sophomore and Junior years. As a Resident Advisor, I developed programs catering to the interests and needs of my first‐year residents, enforced College policies to maintain safety of residents, oversaw the residence hall facilities, and submitted regular reports to my supervisors.
Campus Service Activity /Award 3:
Equity, Transformation, and Accountability Board Member|3|During my time on the board, I worked with Lafayette administration to establish policies advocating for students of marginalized communities. As a board we were able to accomplish the implementation of gender‐neutral bathrooms across campus in the Fall of 2017.
Campus Service Activity /Award 4:
Muslim Students Association|2|After being a member in the organization my freshman year, I served as President of the Muslim Students Association as a sophomore during a tumultuous time for Muslim students on our campus. I co‐lead student opposition and protest to the President’s decision to invite Nigel Farage to campus as well as advocated for our membership in the heated political climate of Spring 2017. Along with organizing events in celebration of Muslim cultures, I served as the liaison between the group and the Tapestries arts program occurring at Lafayette. I returned to my role as a member of the organization as a Junior.
Campus Service Activity /Award 5:
Arab Students Association|2|I worked with a group of seniors my freshman year to found Lafayette’s first student organization to celebrate Arab and Middle Eastern cultures. We worked to promote cross‐
cultural discussion and cultural awareness through events and outreach. We developed creative programming to bring together the Arab community on campus.
Campus Service Activity /Award 6:
Kaleidoscope Social Justice Peer Educator|3|Facilitate conversations multiple times a semester about aspects of identity and how they interact with society and institutions within the context of Lafayette and the nation. Through Kaleidoscope, I have promoted inclusivity, dialogue, and social justice on our campus through the workshops and discussions.
Campus Service Activity /Award 7:
Lafayette Food and Farm Cooperative (LaFFCo)|1.5|I served as treasurer for one year while also volunteering on LaFarm weekly and taking an active role in the group’s event planning and outreach initiatives. Participated in a Beekeeping Course at Northampton Community College.
Campus Service Activity /Award 8:
Mar‐Keys A Capella Group|1.5|Participated in rehearsals twice a week as well as performances and showcases throughout the year.
Community Service 1:
Refugee Action|3|Refugee Action is a student‐run advocacy organization founded at Lafayette in the Spring of 2017. The organization’s Resettlement team works with a local resettlement agency to sponsor and support refugee families in the Lehigh Valley. After joining the organization my sophomore year, I took on the role of Lead Interpreter on Refugee Action’s first case. As of Junior year, I have served as President of Resettlement, a role that I currently hold. In my capacity as President, I manage a team of 32 students, directly supervising the 10‐member Resettlement leadership team, and a network of 40+ community members and supporters. My role is to oversee the robust and comprehensive resettlement process from start to finish. Along with planning and executing weekly General Body and Executive Board Meetings, I work to maintain the organization’s relationship with the Lafayette College Administration. I also facilitate the internal leadership training and mentorship program and review weekly updates from the committee chairs. I am responsible for crisis management and the organization’s response to complicated situations with the families we work with. During the two years of my presidency, Refugee Action’s Resettlement Team has supported upwards of twelve families in the Lehigh Valley.
Community Service 2:
Landis Center MOSAIC Coordinator|1|While co‐coordinating Lalapalooza in the Spring of 2019 with my MOSAIC team, I coordinated the Civic Engagement Academy. In this role I created programs and events
to invite students to participate in civic engagement and facilitated workshops and trainings on service immersion and volunteer work.
Community Service 3:
Alternative School Break|2|I began my involvement with Alternative School Break as a team member on a service trip with the International Rescue Committee in Atlanta, Georgia during my junior Year. My
senior year, I co‐led the trip, facilitating immersive engagement in the Clarkston, and broader Atlanta, community for my team of twelve.
Community Service 4:
Landis Center Program Generation Next Volunteer|1|Volunteered with the mentorship program at Easton High School to support mainly first generation college students with college applications and test prep.
Athletic Activity /Award 1:
Club Women’s Rugby|2|Participated in practice three times a week and as well as weekly tournaments.
Special Interest Activity/Award 1:
Millie’s World Early Intervention Center: Applied Behavior Analysis Teaching Assistant|2|In my role as a teaching assistant, I worked one‐on‐one with students ages two to four on the autism spectrum using
applied behavioral analysis.
Special Interest Activity/Award 2:
Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas’ District Office Summer|1|I was fortunate enough to work as a summer intern at my Assemblywoman’s office during the summer of 2017. I assisted the Deputy Chief of Staff by filing paperwork, maintaining emails, answering phone calls, and overseeing the organization of specific outreach and engagement projects. I also campaigned for my councilmen who was up for re‐election.
Special Interest Activity/Award 3:
Al‐Maydan Book Club|1|Student, faculty, and staff interdisciplinary book club that met about once a month to discuss texts related to related to Islam and Muslims.
Special Interest Activity/Award 4:
What Lafayette Students Want Faculty to Know, Panelist|1|Spoke as a panelist around the theme of inclusion in the classroom. Discussed crafting more diverse and representative syllabi and catering to needs of students in the classroom.
Special Interest Activity/Award 5:
Ni de aqui ni da alla, Neither from here nor from there, Panelist|1|Spoke about immigration issues, diasporic communities, and ESL learning in light of national conversation of DACA immigration program and the Travel Ban.
Special Interest Activity/Award 6:
Publication: “Acting On Faith: Stories of Courage, Activism, and Hope Across Religions”, edited by Diane Faires Beable and Jamie Lynn Haskings|1|
Special Interest Activity/Award 7:
Publication: “What Two Students Want You to Know About Inclusive Teaching” by Tracie Addy, PhD, MPhil, Ayat Husseini, and Anna DeVault|1|
Special Interest Activity/Award 8:
Stoke Performer|1|Performed at Stoke in Downtown Easton bi‐weekly during my freshman year.