Samiha Islam is a Presidential Scholar studying political science at the State University of New York at Buffalo. In 2018, she organized the From Strangers to Neighbors Festival, a project highlighting the values that refugees and immigrants bring to American society and culture. This event was attended by over 400 guests from the Rochester area, and served to counter ill-informed stereotypes related to the executive order travel ban.
A recent graduate of Brighton High School, she has facilitated numerous faculty workshops discussing equity, highlighting biases, and identifying oppression in the student body. She has also led youth workshops and panels on the topics of race, power, and interfaith understanding for hundreds of students at the annual Global Citizenship Conference at Nazareth College and the 2018 Roc2Change Summit on race: empowering her peers with the tools to engage in conversations on the topics of intersectionality and being actively anti-racist. She is a former intern at the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, and has been featured in the Rochester Museum and Science Center's "Changemakers: Rochester Women Who Changed the World" exhibit. As an outspoken advocate against Islamophobia and racial injustice, she strives to unite people across backgrounds and belief systems through dialogue, and is dedicated to forging a more equitable, tolerant world.