Satin TashniziExecutive Director / Co-founder
Satin graduated from the University of Utah with an Honors Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, a bachelors degree in International Studies and a bachelors in Middle Eastern Studies. She wrote her honors undergraduate thesis on Millennial voting after working to bring the first ever voter center to her campus. Recently, her work to empower young voters was featured in Forbes. In 2015 she interned at the United States House of Representatives in Washington DC. As a fluent Farsi speaker, and the proud daughter of Iranian immigrants, she was proud to work as an interpreter serving refugees and migrants in the community. She started her career at Goldman Sachs in 2018, and was appointed by Governor Herbert to the board of the Multicultural Commission in 2019. In January of 2019 Satin gave a Ted Talk titled ‘How we can defeat terrorism’ where she highlighted the separation between political ideology and Islam. Satin proudly serves as the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Emerald Project working alongside her team to combat the misrepresentation of Islam.
Nora Abu-DanChief Operating Officer / Co-founder
Nora Abu-Dan is Utah born but both her parents are from the holy land of Palestine. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a minor in Spanish. Nora is also a former reigning Miss United Nations USA and used her platform to educate youth on using their voice to make a difference. In 2016, Nora went on to become an Arabic Interpreter for refugees who were seeking safety from their war torn countries. She found her passion in helping others establish a new life in America with the promise of hope and peace. Shortly after, with all the misinformation and hate that was being perpetuated about Islam and Muslims, it was time to make a change. Nora co-founded Emerald Project in 2017 and in the future, she plans to be a Peace Ambassador for Palestine and help rebuild this war-traumatized nation, one conversation at a time.
Aya SadatChief of Staff
Aya is a doctorate student in the Clinical Psychology Program at BYU. Her interest in psychology is fueled by a passion to diversify the field as well as advocating for culturally relevant interventions for diverse communities. Aya recently graduated from the University of Utah, where she was awarded the Outstanding Honors Student Scholarship and the Academic Merit CSBS Departmental Scholarship. She was also a social justice fellow, a research assistant, and a part of the student government. As a proud Muslim, American, and Syrian Aya hopes that with her passion and continuing education, she can work to uplift and advocate for her communities.
Ali-Abbas SialDirector of Special Projects
Ali Abbas Sial is a 21 year old Pakistani American. He joined Emerald Project in March of 2018 as an Ambassador. In October of 2021 he was promoted to Director of Special Projects. Ali Abbas is a senior at the University of Utah and is studying Chemistry. He has volunteered at the University of Utah Hospital with Connect2Health, Utah Islamic Center, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Parliament of World Religions, and the American Red Cross. Ali Abbas has worked as an associate instructor for the Math and Chemistry Departments at the University of Utah and volunteered as a TA for Physiology. He is a recipient of the Lloyd E. Malm Memorial Award for outstanding performance in Chemistry.
Tala ShihabDirector of Communications
Tala is currently a student at the University of Utah. She is Lebanese, but she was born and raised in Salt Lake City. She plans on pursuing a career in dentistry in college. She is passionate about working things by hand (i.e. Jewelry), teaching, and learning about new things. Tala volunteered as a TA in French, a tutor in organization and time management, and an Islamic studies teacher at the Muslim Community Center. Tala recently joined the Emerald Project as an Ambassador. Her Goal at the Emerald Project is to participate/initiate the conversation about the misrepresentation of Islam and educating those of the Salt Lake community.
Shayma SalihDirector of Outreach
Shayma Salih is a first generation Kurdish American, her family came to the. U.S. from Kurdistan as refugees. She graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. During her time as an undergrad, Shayma served as ASUU’s Director of Diversity, Vice President of the Women of Tomorrow and Director of Service for the Asian American Student Association. In those roles, she constantly strived to create cognizance of injustice, by teaching and learning from the student body via conferences, dialogues, forums, and lectures. Through her efforts, she was able to create a campus culture that is welcoming of all students. She is passionate about serving her community and ensuring that they feel valued and welcomed in this country. Shayma joined Emerald Project in June of 2021, she was promoted to Outreach Director in December of 2021.
Nour BilalDirector of Controls
Nour is a criminal justice student at Weber State University. Nour and her family moved to America from Syria in 2014. Her dreams are to finish college, write her book, and become a public speaker. She works as a Volunteer Specialist at Catholic Community Services. Nour also earned a full ride scholarship through the One Refugee program. She learned about Emerald Project through her English class as a service project, but she wanted to stay and become part of the team.
Areesha NazirDirector of People
Areesha is a first-generation Pakistani-American and an undergrad student at the University of Utah double-majoring in Information Systems & Marketing. She serves as the Director for the Community Service Board of the Union Programming Council at the U where she aims to serve underrepresented communities on campus and provide opportunities for students to participate in community service. She has participated in many other campus organizations such as Business Scholars, the Pakistan Student Association, the Freshman Ambassador Board, and the FeedU Pantry. She joined Emerald because of her dedication and passion for service and she wanted to give back to communities that have always supported her. Areesha’s goal at Emerald Project is to create a sense of representation for the Muslim community, especially Muslim youth.
Maimoonah Hussein was born in Baghdad, Iraq, forced to leave her country because of war, she grew up in Utah for the majority of her life. She is planning to attend the University of Utah, to pursue a career in medicine. Her passion for the medical field is fueled by her love of helping people. Her hobbies include playing basketball, art, and baking. Maimoonah strives to help those who are less fortunate and wants to play a big role in combating the misrepresentation of Islam. Joining Emerald Project, she hopes to help the new Muslim generation find their voice and learn how to stand up for themselves.
Salma is a first generation Chadian American and was born and raised in Salt Lake City. She is currently a student at the University of Utah studying Strategic Communications. She is passionate about storytelling through the means of art and cultivating community through conversation and creating inclusive spaces. Salma volunteers as an Islamic studies teacher and administrative assistant at Khadeeja Islamic Center and is the Marketing Director for the University of Utah’s Muslim Student Association. Through joining Emerald Project, she hopes to be a part of fostering a meaningful community and to inspire young muslims to share and embrace their different experiences and identities.
Yasmine is currently a student at the University of Utah studying Biomedical Engineering with a minor in music. She is a Palestinian American who joined Emerald in hopes of bringing new perspectives into standardized conversations. She also hopes to encourage others to embrace their cultural differences. Yasmine finds great passion in music. She plays the cello in the university’s premiere orchestra, the Utah Philharmonia, and volunteers her time performing for retirement homes through her non-profit organization, Giving Bach. At the University of Utah, she is a research assistant for the Cardiovascular Pathomechanics Lab, which works to understand the connection between mechanics and cardiovascular disease progression. Yasmine is grateful for the Emerald Project for giving her the opportunity to be a voice for a community she cares deeply about.
Tala is a Palestinian American who joined emerald in July of 2022 and is very excited to continue to be part of it and in spreading its mission. She just graduated with an international studies degree. She is pursuing her masters now with a global health emphasis. Tala is Vice President of the pre health club on campus, on the executive team for the American chemical society on campus, volunteers as a TA for organic chemistry I and organic chemistry II, volunteers weekly in the division of geriatrics at the university hospital and is a Girl Scout troop leader. She was recently granted the 2022 summer UROP award and completed her undergraduate research project on the role of liver-specific autophagy in hepatic homeostasis and presented her work at the symposium. She recently just got married. She is passionate about traveling and recently went on a health program study abroad in Thailand. She is excited to be a part of emerald and the team.
Hibba Ahmed is currently a Sophomore at the University Of Utah studying Criminology with a minor in Strategic Communications. Hibba is a first generation Pakistani immigrant, and came to the United States when she was six years old. Hibba is currently a University Of Utah Ambassador, which means she travels, recruits, and represents the University. She is also a part of the Student Innovation Council which reviews proposals for the University, and she provides perspective as a minority on campus. Through the school’s student government, Hibba served on First Year Council and also was a part of the Diversity Scholars cohort which offered her specialized workshops and courses, multiple mentoring relationships, and off-campus community engagement opportunities. Hibba also dedicates time to the First-Generation Cohort on campus. Her goal at the Emerald Project is to develop her skills as an advocate, and educate others about Islam.
Mayar is a first generation Iraqi in the United States. She was born and raised in Jordan before she and her family moved here in 2009. Mayar is currently working as a realtor here in Salt Lake City. Mayar’s goal is to help people establish a solid foundation in their community for generations to come. She uses her passion for real-estate to do so. She believes in the importance of homeownership and how it can play a role in stability and building wealth for generations to come. Mayar also has a passion for writing and public speaking. She joined Emerald in May of 2022 after she met the group during Muslim youth conference. Mayar hadn’t felt a sense of a muslim community most of her life here in the states. With Emerald’s help, she was able to step into her power and help herself and others in the community have a voice to speak up and combat the misrepresentation of Islam.
Amina is an Iraqi American born and raised in Utah. She is currently studying Health, Society, and Policy at the University of Utah with the hopes to one day pursue a career in dentistry. She is currently a girl scout leader for the Muslim Girl Scout Troup of Utah and enjoys spending her time fostering the creativity of those young girls. She is also a volunteer with the Al-Mustafa Foundation where she gets to make the world a better place surrounded by great people. In her free time, she enjoys reading, drawing, and painting. In joining Emerald Project she hopes to become a part of a community that has a positive impact on today’s Muslim Ummah.
Kristin VazquezAdvisory Board Member
Kristin Marie Raffone Vazquez, Esq. is the President and CEO of Raffone Dessiné, a legal services provider. She has over 16 years’ of comprehensive legal experience. Ms. Vazquez has extensive experience in emerging growth companies, and in particular, mergers and acquisitions, business combinations and joint ventures. Ms. Vazquez has licenses to practice in New York, Connecticut and Utah. She has been recognized as one of the Utah’s Legal Elite for her accomplishments in the field of Mergers and Acquisitions. She was also featured in Salt Lake Magazine’s Women to Watch feature for her business consulting and fashion accessories business “Raffone Design.” Ms. Vazquez is a member of the Utah Bar; Utah Minority Bar Association; Utah Lawyers for the Arts; Sandy Chamber of Commerce and Utah Technology Council. Ms. Vazquez is also a certified business and executive coach.
Yassin AbdallahFormer Ambassador
Yassin is a high school student from Berlin. In May of 2020, Yassin graduated from Hillcrest High school. Before coming to the United States he was active in the Muslim Youth Organization of Berlin. He is a passionate soccer player and Hertha BSC fan. His roots are Tunisian and Bosnian, but he was born and raised in Germany. His goals are to make this world a better place. His hobbies are hanging out with his friends, traveling, playing sports and hiking. He is interested in meeting new people and loves to hear their stories.
Served | June 2019 – June 2020
Ermina Mustafic HarambasicFormer Director of Sponsorship & Outreach
Ermina Mustafic is a first generation college student studying Political Science at the University of Utah. Ermina and her family came to the U.S. as Bosnian Muslim refugees in 1998 and settled in Utah. Her passion for educating people on the misrepresentation of Islam stems from her families experiences in their home country. Ermina hopes to help build a bridge of unity by engaging in important conversations with others. In 2019 she served as a congressional intern for Congressman Andre Carson in Washington, DC and was awarded an intern scholarship by the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2019. Ermina joined as an Ambassador in March of 2019 and was the first Emerald team member to get promoted to Director. In many ways Ermina paved the way for her fellow team members to ascend at Emerald Project.
Ermina served Emerald Project as Ambassador and later as Director of Sponsorships & Outreach. Today Ermina serves refugees and migrants working at CCS.
Served | March 2019 – May 2021
Taha AbdallahFormer Director of Programming
Taha is an Honors Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies student at the University of Utah. His father is from Tunisia and mother from Brazil. He is currently the President of the Muslim Students’ Association chapter at the U of U. Taha is the recipient of the Eccles Scholarship, a full ride scholarship, and the Foreign Language and Area Studies scholarship to study Arabic. His passions include history, soccer, and basketball. Taha’s goal as an ambassador with Emerald Project is to build bridges between communities. Taha has been with Emerald Project since its founding, and he has loved every second of it.
Served until December 2022
Sam BariFormer Ambassador
Sam is a pre medical student at Salt Lake Community College. Sam and his family fled to the United States in 2015 escaping the war in Syria. Sam earned a full ride scholarship through One Refugee program. Wanting to give back to the community, Sam has volunteered at the International Rescue Committee. He dedicates time as tutor, supporting a team that is developing a VR program to help new students refugees in partnership with the University of Utah and the International Rescue Committee.
Emina MehmedovicFormer Director of Finance & Controls
Emina is a Bosnian American, her family came to the United States as refugees in 1998 in hopes of providing a better life for themselves. Both of her parents have worked hard labor jobs in the U.S. and their work ethic has inspired Emina to accomplish great things in her own life. Being the first in her family to attend a 4 year educational institution, Emina hopes to inspire other young immigrants to pursue their education because she knows it is one of the most powerful tools. Emina graduated May 2020 from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in Finance.
Served | June 2019 – August 2023
Omar EzzedineFormer Ambassador
Omar is Texas raised but Syrian by blood. At 20 years old he is a first-generation college student studying Computer science and Mechanical engineering. Prior to moving to Utah, he spent his time at several refugee programs in the Dallas area. Some of his pastimes are learning how to play instruments, swimming, and goofing around with friends. His goal at the Emerald project. He is to help combat the misrepresentation of Islam, and to set a good example of what it means to be Muslim to those who have never met a Muslim before.
Served until January 2023
Mo JaljouliFormer Ambassador
Mohammed is a Palestinian American, born and raised in New York City. He is passionate about giving back to his community and strengthening the Muslim society around him. Mo is a sports enthusiast with a deep passion for basketball. His athletic background brings with him, a strong sense of teamwork to the team. Currently, Mo serves as a valuable team member at Ken Garff, one of the most well known Car Dealerships in America.
Served until July 2022