Current Students

Heller Student Association

HSA vision and mission

The vision of the Heller Student Association (HSA) is to take an inclusive approach to understand and empower all of our educations through a focus on cross-collaboration between students, working groups, professors, and staff at Heller.

The mission of the HSA is to participate meaningfully in decisions affecting students’ time at Heller. We will amplify the diverse voices of the student body by bringing your input to the faculty, administration, career services, staff, steering committees, and program directors with whom we meet regularly.

What we are focusing on this semester

With COVID-19 influencing many factors of our time at Heller, HSA has chosen to prioritize these five goals for this semester:

  • Emphasizing self-care and awareness of resources available at Heller
  • Fostering a community focused on understanding and social justice
  • Hosting culturally appropriate events to celebrate our diverse community
  • Developing communication systems between the Heller student body and administration
  • Retooling our webpage for more outreach and collection of student concerns

Heller Student Association Co-Chairs

Fatoumata Jaiteh, HSA Co-Chair

Fatoumata Jaiteh, MA SID'24

HSA Co-Chair

Fatoumata Jaiteh has been actively engaged in activism, education, community development, and community advancement programs promoting gender equity, preventive health, economic growth, and unity in The Gambia for a decade now. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies from the University of the Gambia. She is a first-year Sustainable International Development student at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Ms. Jaiteh's career path has included leading an organization, mentoring over 900 girls and boys in The Gambia, and training Gambian youth in leadership programs for eight years. As a first-generation student, she says of her education and youth advocacy path, "When you grow up in a community where there is so much to work on and develop, you might find yourself engaged in work that requires you to sacrifice, serve, humanity and break barriers." She has worked as a project manager for several skills development projects, event planner for performing arts programs, and instructor at a leadership academy in collaboration with the University of Mar Del Plata in Argentina. While serving at Starfish International in The Gambia, Jaiteh worked with over 150 volunteers worldwide, grounding her knowledge and skills as a global citizen. In 2021, she moved to the town of Natick in Massachusetts to work as a Library Paraprofessional and promote equity and inclusion, especially for minority students.

Nizar Ahmed

Nizar Ahmed, MA COEX'24

HSA Co-Chair

Nizar Ahmed is a dedicated and passionate peacebuilding expert with extensive experience in youth development and community engagement. Currently, he is pursuing a master's degree in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Previously, he completed his master’s degree in strategic studies from National Defense University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of the Punjab Pakistan.

He has been an active participant of community development for the past 8 years and remained engaged in constructive positive social change processes through his professional and voluntary experiences. Currently serving as a Program Manager at The Dream Program Inc. in Somerville, MA, USA, Nizar is actively involved in bringing high-quality mentoring and enriching activities to at-promising youth. Nizar's commitment to global youth development led him to serve as a Program Manager at the Family Educational Services Foundation in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. There, he spearheaded a PKR 6 million USAID funded project, "Champions of Change," aimed at countering violent extremism and promoting peace and tolerance. His remarkable ability to manage stakeholders, build partnerships, and engage with universities and youth participants has positively impacted over 150,000 community members across 14 districts of Sindh.

Through his unwavering commitment to youth empowerment and community development, Nizar Ahmed continues to be a driving force for positive change and social impact, striving to create a better and more inclusive world for future generations.

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