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2024 Mini-Grad Recipients

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2024 Mini-Grad Grants Recipients 

Tai Anthony MacMillian

Tai Anthony MacMillian is a Masters Student Doerr School of Sustainability and the School of Engineering looking to deliver world class building projects that foster holistic health and create communities of virtue, edification, and balance. Also with interests in education and sustainability, he wants to work on projects that promote human connection as well as resilient well-being for our planet's natural beauty. He was born and raised in the south end of Seattle, WA (Skyway) where he experienced a fruitful upbringing in one of the most diverse regions in the United States. Now, being based in the Bay Area with his wife, he enjoys sharing meals, the outdoors, playing basketball, and pursuing knowledge in my free time.

What do you hope to do with the Markaz mini-grant:  As-salaamu alaykum! I'm excited at the prospect of utilizing the Markaz mini-grant to explore the intersection of mental health, the built environment, and the rich intellectual heritage of the Islamic world. My research project aims to contribute to a developing blueprint for sacred space in the West that embodies and inspires Quranic insights and prophetic principles. Through the case study of a “Modern Maristan” or Contemporary Islamic Mental Health Hospital, I hope to share a documentary-style presentation on my architectural design and journeys.

Zahra Fazal 

Zahra Fazal from Morogoro, Tanzania is pursuing a Master's in Epidemiology at Stanford Medicine. Her research intersects social and infectious disease epidemiology with a specific focus on under-served populations in healthcare. She has worked on numerous projects from Tuberculosis diagnosis in Tanzania, COVID-19 outcomes in patients with immunosuppression in Canada and is currently leading a study on vaccination inequities amongst people with albinism. Zahra hopes to use her training to advocate for data-driven change in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

What do you hope to do with the Markaz mini-grant: This grant will allow me to finalize a project to design and install mural art in Tanzania that is focused on destigmatizing albinism. Albinism is a genetic disorder that is misunderstood in many parts of the country leading to the marginalization of this community from mosques, schools and healthcare centers. These murals will be co-developed by a local Muslim mural artist and people with albinism.

Rubén González and Haia Haidari 

Rubén González (PhD Candidate, Stanford Graduate School of Education) and Haia Haidari (English Teacher, Dublin High School) are joint mini-grant recipients for their ethnographic work on teaching Palestine in a post-October 7th world. 

Rubén González, proudly from Greenfield, California, is a PhD candidate in the Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE) program at Stanford University. Rubén’s scholarship explores how K-12 teachers and youth of color develop and enact a critical sociopolitical disposition in classroom, school, and larger community settings, Prior to his graduate studies, Rubén was a high school English, English Language Development, and AVID teacher in Sacramento, California. He completed his bachelor’s degree in English at Sacramento State University after transferring from Hartnell College. 

Haia Haidari is an English teacher at Dublin High School. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics with a minor in Theology and Religious Studies at Saint Mary’s College of California. From there, she attended Stanford University to earn her Masters in Education and Secondary English Teaching Credential. 

What do you hope to do with the Markaz mini-grant: The generous funding of the Markaz mini-grant, in partnership with a local high school teacher, will support the development of high school curriculum to teach about Palestine in our current moment of ongoing attacks against Palestinian people in Gaza. We are excited to ensure that high school youth engage with what is happening within and beyond Gaza in a way that critically engages with the histories and contemporary realities of Palestinian people.

Izma Shabbir

Izma Shabbir is a graduate student studying Design, at the under the School of Engineering. Prior to Stanford, she managed music & film streaming platform technology, created digital user experiences across the media + entertainment industry, and designed visual campaigns. She aims to design thoughtful experiences and products that center underrepresented narratives. Her design principles particularly emphasize enriching the experiences of Muslim American children through purposeful and inclusive design.

What do you hope to do with the Markaz mini-grant: I aim to re-design American Islamic Sunday school curricula to create vital ‘third spaces’ centered around historical Islamic culture. Building upon design engineering and experience design principles, lessons will be centered around Islamic engineering, art, geometry, and design. The goal is to celebrate less-discussed aspects of Islam by educating Muslim American children on the role of design, architecture, geometry, engineering, and art within our historical communities.  I believe that American Islamic Sunday Schools are vital learning spaces for our communities. Thoughtfully designed curricula will improve the experiences, camaraderie, and psychology of Muslim American children in and outside the classroom.

Bilal Nadeem

Bilal Nadeem is pursuing a PhD in anthropology at Stanford and an MD at the Yale School of Medicine. Bilal completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard, focusing on human developmental and regenerative biology. He received an M.Phil. (with Distinction) in Health, Medicine, and Society from the University of Cambridge as a Lt. Charles H. Fiske III Scholar. Bilal has conducted ethnographic and public health research in Brazil, China, and the United Kingdom, and has helped create needs-assessment toolkits for medical education institutions in regions of armed conflict. Bilal was a medical humanities fellow at the Abigail Adams Institute, a research partner at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and a Measey Surgical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. His co-authored work has appeared in Nature Communications, Annals of Surgery, and JAMA, and he has presented papers at the American Ethnological Society, Association of Social Anthropologists, and the Society for the Anthropology of Religion. A Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford, Bilal is also a co-coordinator for the Linda Meier Research Workshop in the Medical Humanities at the Stanford Humanities Center.

What do you hope to do with the Markaz mini-grant: I will use the mini-grant to present and polish a paper-in-progress entitled “Secular Expectations and the Temporalities of Tradition under the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The paper is an extension of my M.Phil work, an ethnographic examination of Muslims in the UK during the height of the pandemic. I illustrate the capaciousness of the Islamic tradition, the ways Muslims enlisted epidemiological and immunological concepts to pursue their religious goals.