Here's who joined the SAJA Board this year


Hamdan Azhar is the founder of Prismoji, a former data scientist at Facebook, GraphScience, and Ron Paul 2012. He received a Master’s in Biostatistics from University of Michigan, and completed one year of Ph.D. coursework in neuroscience at the University of Chicago. He has been a freelance journalist for the past seven years, writing on politics, culture, and technology. Some bylines include VICE, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and Forbes. He is also the c0-founder of Muslim Writers Collective, a platform to promote creativity and storytelling among young people of color, holding monthly open mics in New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago, and profiled in NPR, VICE, Huffington Post, and more.


Nina Sen is a producer of digital video for the Associated Press, based in New York. She works in mobile and social video, motion graphics and most recently, has been producing virtual reality pieces. Prior to the AP, she worked as a broadcast reporter/producer for a local TV channel, News 12, where she learned to lug a 35-pound camera around NYC subways. Her journalism career took off after her first position at the Washington Post, where she worked directly in news and marketing to create revenue-generating products for young readers. She was recently named an ONA 2016 CNN diversity fellow and has worked on several award-winning documentaries based in South Asia. She holds a bachelors in business from Washington State University and a Masters in political science from St. John’s University.


Ankita Rao is an editor at VICE's science and tech vertical, Motherboard. In the past she reported on health policy at Kaiser Health News, and spent two years as a freelance journalist in India, where she wrote about health, development and the election for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Quartz and other publications. She is a recipient of grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, the Pulitzer Center, the International Center for Journalists, and SAJA.


Malik Siraj Akbar, based in Washington D.C., is the editor-in-chief of Pakistan's first hyper-local online newspaper, the Baloch Hal and a former Balochistan Bureau Chief of the Daily Times and the Friday Times. He was granted political asylum in the United States in 2011 because of death threats he received in Pakistan for reporting on human rights abuses in his native Balochistan province. He studied journalism at the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ) in India and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Communication at Arizona State University. He holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and currently serves as the Vice President of the Harvard Kennedy School Washington DC Alumni Council. His work has been published in Foreign Policy, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Times of India, the Indian Express, Dawn, Express Tribune and several South Asian publications. Twitter: @MalikSirajAkbar.


Prerana Thakurdesai has more than 12 years of media experience in India and the US. In New York, she works as a freelance journalist for Indian news channels and publications. She also consults with Going To School, a non-profit organization that works with kids from low-income communities to create design-driven stories to teach them skills at school. Prerana has been a trainer at Solutions Journalism Network, training practicing journalists on reporting about solutions. She primarily works with film production companies on documentary films.

In India, Prerana was part of creatively developing and researching the award-winning television talk show on social issues in India - Satyamev Jayate - produced and hosted by one of India’s biggest actors and filmmakers, Aamir Khan. As part of the core team, she travelled the length and breadth of India, documenting stories around issues like child sexual abuse, gender, domestic violence, healthcare, sex-selective abortions among others.

Prerana also worked as a news anchor and reporter for some of India's biggest news channels - Times Now and NDTV. She began her career in the print media, working for publications like India Today and Mid-day, after completing a post graduate diploma in journalism from Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai.



Zainab Imam is a Program Manager at the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) in Washington, D.C. She is from Karachi, Pakistan, where she worked as a writer and editor for five years. Most recently, she worked at The Express Tribune, the Pakistani publishing partner of The International New York Times.

At ICFJ, she works on multiple programs, particularly in Pakistan. She currently manages the U.S.-Pakistan Professional Partnership in Journalism, an exchange program between journalists from Pakistan and the United States. She is also deeply involved in the establishment of ICFJ’s State Department-funded Center for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) in Karachi.

She has a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. She tweets as @zainabimam.


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