AboutOur PeopleFariha Nawar
Fellow, Class of 2025

Fariha Nawar

Political Science, English
Colchester, VT

Fariha is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, concentrating in political science, English and psychology. Ultimately, Fariha would like to use her academic training for humanitarian purposes, whether that is as an immigration lawyer working with refugees and protecting the right to asylum, or as a clinical psychologist increasing access to adolescents’ mental health, or by advocating for diversity in high school English curriculums.

Although I’m not sure where exactly my future will lead, I know I want to spend my life connecting with people and helping them, regardless of which path I choose.

A Bangladeshi, Muslim woman who grew up in the majority-white state of Vermont, Fariha knows firsthand the value of community and the importance of advocacy. She has translated this appreciation of community into serving others as well as initiatives for diversity and inclusion.

During high school, Fariha mentored 9th grade algebra students, connecting with them through both academic and personal guidance. She was a classroom volunteer at her local mosque’s weekend Islamic school, during which she taught young Muslim girls how to read and write Arabic, memorize and interpret the Quran, and study Islamic principles. Fariha was also involved in a cultural affinity group for female immigrant students of color, culminating in a panel discussion during which she addressed her school’s humanities faculty, ultimately adjusting the curriculum to include more accuracy and diversity in content. As an SNF Paideia Fellow, Fariha will contribute her emphasis on community building, and exemplify empathy, kindness, and citizenship.

At Penn, Fariha has furthered her passion for community and dialogue. She is a founder of the Bangladeshi Student Association and the copy editor of the Penn Review literary journal. She has continued her service-oriented activities by working at a West Philadelphia high school through the Netter Center’s Community School Student Partnerships, and through involvement with Penn Benjamins Peer Counseling. As a member of the Asian Pacific American Leadership Initiative, she spent the spring semester discussing experiences and aspects of Asian American identity with her cohort. Fariha strongly believes in sharing stories and perspectives as a method of uplifting both oneself and one’s community, and she plans to further integrate the skills, theory, and practice of dialogue through her time as a fellow.