Linking Communities

Nowmee Shehab receives the Marion Luther Brittain Award

Kay Hinton

Nowmee Syeda Shehab 16C spent just three years at Emory after transferring here from Smith College, yet she managed to program two national conferences; link several groups, both on and off campus; and change a University policy on scholarships for undocumented students.

Of all her work here, Shehab says that she is most proud of adding her voice to connect and advocate with Freedom at Emory. The chapter is an outgrowth of Freedom University, an Atlanta nonprofit that offers tuition-free, college-level courses to undocumented students in Georgia.

As a documented immigrant who moved to the US with her family from Dhaka, Bangladesh, when she was 16, Shehab says, “It’s a moral imperative for me to help. I had already made the broader connections, how we connect gender issues to race issues to all of our issues. It’s to the betterment of our community, at Emory, in Atlanta, in Georgia, to bring all the issues together.”

Shehab is the 2016 recipient of the University’s highest student honor, the Marion Luther Brittain Award, presented each year to the single graduate of any of its nine schools who has demonstrated exemplary service to both the University and the greater community, without expectation of recognition.

At Emory, Shehab majored in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and worked in the Center for Women. With the Office of Health Promotion, she twice organized a team to plan RespectCon, a national conference on sexual violence prevention. She plans to attend law school, and will spend the next year as a paralegal in a D.C. firm that works on federal issues such as immigration.

Laura Emiko Soltis 12PhD, Freedom University executive director, says, “Nowmee is able to bring people together and deepen connections.”

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