Getting the most out of your time in High School and College

Presenters: Dr. Noveera Ahmed and Khulood Sharif

Dr. Noveera Ahmed is an associate professor in the Department of Biology at St. John Fisher College.  She started her position as Chair of the Department in Fall of 2020. She also serves as the AWSA Vice President and her local Lajna Sadr.  She earned a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Khulood Sharif is a second year teacher of biology at Waltham High School.  She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2016 with a Bachelors of Science in Biology and minor in Arabic Studies.  She received her Master of Arts in Teaching from Boston University in 2018.

Rooting your Research to the Holy Quran

Presenters: Dr. Amtul Rehman Ahmad

Dr. Amtul Rehman Ahmed has worked as a medical doctor for 37 years as an OB/Gyn, Anesthesiologist, and Pediatrician. She specialized in Pediatrics after emigrating to the US 35 years ago and has served as Lead Physician, Chief of Pediatrics, and Chief Medical Officer in the Children’s Hospital in Wisconsin. She has also served as Lead Physician and Medical Director in the California Bay area. She is a diplomat of the American Board of Pediatrics and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Ahmed has a passion for learning and teaching the Holy Quran, and has dedicated her time to this passion since retiring. She teaches Tarteel, Tarjuma, and Tafseer of the Holy Quran, as well as, Arabic grammar. She has attended advanced Arabic grammar classes in Rabwah, and teaches classes on split-word translation for children and classes through the TAQWA program on She is currently serving as the National Taleem Secretary of Lajna Ima’illah, USA.

Scientific Basis for Prayer

Presenters: Dr. Shanaz Butt

For the past 30 years, Dr. Shanaz Butt has worked as a servant leader and a volunteer for numerous humanitarian and community outreach projects. She is a strong advocate of secular and moral empowerment of women and children and dedicates her time and effort to increase the self-esteem and economic health of under-served populations.  Over the past 20 years, Shanaz has spoken on various contemporary topics dealing with social justice and religious issues to improve mutual understanding amongst diverse Faith groups. Her chapter in the book, “America’s Jihad,” explores the changing attitudes towards Muslim Women pre and post-911.  

Shanaz served as National President, Lajna Imaillah-USA from 2000-2010 and then served as AWSA president from 2011-2014. She continues to serve several non-profit organizations, both external and internal to Jamaat USA.

Shanaz is a professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Her research is directed towards understanding the effects of stress on mental disorders.  She has published over 60 papers and made more than 175 presentations at national and international conferences.  

Shanaz received her BS and MS degrees from the University of Mumbai, India. She received a Gold medal in Chemistry from the University of Mumbai before she came to USA to pursue her Ph.D. degree from the Medical College of Virginia, and recently received her MBA in Business and Healthcare from the University of the Sciences.  

Supreme Justice, Science & Race

Presenters: Dr. Rasheeda Ahmad

Dr. Rasheeda Ahmad’s commitment to social justice is an important thread that connects her professional and spiritual life as a Muslim. She advocates for and assists various diverse groups who have difficulty negotiating policies and practices in the school environment. She holds a Masters in Special Education and a Doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction from West Virginia University. While there, she was a recipient of the highly competitive WEB Dubois fellowship.  She is a professor who teaches full time at Cabrini University and provides administrative support for her institution’s graduate special education teacher preparation program.

Her life’s work for over 20 years reflects her commitment to the cause of social justice specifically in the critical analysis of how the institution of schooling practices in the US mirror systemic racism and reproduces inequalities found in the larger society particularly for African American, Latino, and students with disabilities. Her recent chapter in the book, A Paradise to Regain: Post-Obama insights from women educators of the Black diaspora (2019), seeks to reimagine traditional monolithic views of black male identity in school settings that hinder and or acts as barriers to achievement. Instead, African American models of success for marginalized students should be embraced. She has presented at various workshops and conferences nationally and internationally on Anti-Racist education and preparing teachers to meet the needs of learners with diverse abilities. Additionally, Dr. Rasheeda Ahmad has served on advisory boards & task force committees related to strengthening educational practices for students who are: culturally linguistic diverse, disabilities and urban students.

Keep Looking Up: My Journey as an Astronomer

Presenters: Munazza Alam, Ph.D. candidate

Munazza Alam is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University, a National Geographic Young Explorer, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Her research focuses on the characterization of the atmospheres of exoplanets (planets outside of the solar system) using data from the Hubble Space Telescope. Munazza also serves as the local Muavina Sadr Media Watch for the Boston jamaat.

The Process of Science from Disease to Drug Discovery

Dr. Nusrat Sharif is currently serving as President of AWSA.  She is an Immunologist, currently employed in Pfizer as Senior Principal Scientist in Immunology & Inflammation Research Unit. Her Research interests are in understanding the immune  mechanisms of Autoimmune & Inflammatory Diseases and targets involved in these diseases, with the goal of finding novel therapeutics. She is currently leading a team of scientists at Pfizer.  She received her Ph.D. from City University of New York in Biology (Molecular Immunology) and her Post-doctorate  in Cell signaling and Macrophage Activation from Hospital For Special Surgery & Weil Medical College of Cornell University at New York.  She is a member of Boston Jamaat, where she serves as Vice President, Finance & Taleem Secretary of Lajna.

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