Zayna Basma

2020 Heller MPP/MBA Segal Fellow

Zayna Basma is a dual Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Policy candidate at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, concentrating in Children, Youth and Family Policy, with a focus on education policy. Currently, she is an intern for the Systems for Student Success Office at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, a board member of the F.W. Parker Charter Essential School in Devens, her alma mater, and a research assistant at the Center for Youth and Communities at the Heller School, focusing on educational outcomes and opportunities for foster youth. Zayna believes that everyone deserves equal access and opportunities to education, and she is particularly interested in the intersectionality of education and immigration. In 2018 she received her bachelors from UMass Lowell, majoring in political science, with minors in Arabic and Spanish studies. As an undergraduate, she worked on research related to the media coverage and educational experiences of refugees in the United States. She also worked as an intern for MA State Senator Jennifer Flanagan, and then for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office, supporting Warren’s Immigration Specialist. In addition, Zayna served as the co-coordinator of a mentoring program at SayDaNar Community Development Center, a non-profit focused on Burmese refugees in Lowell. Zayna is originally from Shirley, Massachusetts, and she enjoys being the oldest of four siblings, playing scrabble, and endless espresso shots in her coffee. This summer as a Segal Fellow, Zayna is excited to learn about the impact of systems-level education policy on creating equitable educational opportunities for all students, while exploring methods of engaging youth voice in educational processes.