Community News (V13-I24)

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Sarrah Shahawy, Valedictorian at USC

shahawyLOS ANGELES,CA– Sarrah Shahawy  graduated at the top her class from University of Southern California obtaining the coveted valedictorian status.

Shahawy is a graduating senior in USC’s honors general education program, Thematic Option, majoring in biological sciences and French in USC Dornsife. She is president of USC’s Student Interfaith Council and was instrumental in getting the Dalai Lama to speak in May at USC for the first time.

Shahawy was born in Orange and raised in Pasadena and is first generation Egyptian American. Fluent in Arabic and French, she will attend Harvard Medical School in the fall.

In her recent commencement baccalaureate ceremony speech, she said that interfaith work, while celebrating differences, reminds us of our common goals, such as working to eradicate hunger, poverty, disease and corruption.

Nabeel Rahman: top ten of Spelling Bee

Nabeel Rahman, 13-year-old spelling superstar made it to the second round of the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee finals last weekt. Rahman was done in by “dockmacky” after incorrectly spelling the word “dockmackie. ”  Rahman ended up tied for ninth place out of 275 competitors and only 13 who made it to the finals. The winner of the spelling bee, Sukyana Roy, received more than $40,000 in cash and prizes in the annual contest by correctly spelling the world “cymotrichous,” which means to have wavy hair.

Dr. Ali Shirani Donates Dental Care to Antioch Children in Need

ANTIOCH,CA–Many of California’s children today are suffering from dental problems because their family is uninsured and they are undereducated about proper dental care. Dr. Ali Shirani, a general dentist practicing in Antioch, California, is doing his part to help by volunteering his time to treat local children who don’t have insurance. Most of the children have never visited a dentist, so Dr. Shirani uses humor and rewards to calm them down. He hopes his generosity will inspire other dentists to volunteer their services to kids in need.

Dr. Shirani has been volunteering his services since he was in dental school at USC, including trips to treat needy patients in Tijuana. He made this service part of his Antioch practice because he wanted to help local children whose families lack the means to bring them to a dentist. He recently told the Contra Costa Times that for a lot of the families, the choice is, “Do I feed my kids or take them to the dentist?” Now these kids have access to his state-of-the-art facilities, and receive the highest level of care.

The kids who visit his practice are in need of serious dental care; root canals, extractions, fillings, or multiple procedures. He is friendly and gentle as he talks the kids through the process, and he rewards kids who keep their mouth open with toys and stickers. He also teaches them about the importance of brushing and flossing. Dr. Shirani usually treats eight to ten needy children each month. The children are referred to Dr. Shirani by Contra Costa Health Services.

The Contra Costa Times noted the dire state of pediatric oral hygiene in California, stating that “one out of four children in the state’s elementary schools have untreated tooth decay, according to a recent study. Four percent of elementary school students are afflicted with pain from rotting teeth, abscesses and infections.”

Dr. Shirani is fighting to change those numbers, but he knows how big the problem is. “The most frustrating part is no matter how much I do, it’s not enough,” he stated. He hopes other dentists will view his practice as a model.

Amena Ali appointed as CMO of Earth Networks

Earth Networks™, the owner of the WeatherBug® brand and operator of the largest weather observing and lightning network, announces the hiring of Amena Ali as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In this role, Amena will oversee the development and implementation of worldwide marketing and product initiatives, and will be responsible for advancing strategic programs involving the company’s enterprise solutions for commercial and public-sector markets and the popular WeatherBug consumer brand. She will also drive Earth Networks’ expansion into new markets and support the company’s mission to “Take the Pulse of the Planet” by deploying environmental networks – including the largest and first privately funded global greenhouse gas (GHG) observation network – that provide weather and climate intelligence through precise observation, actionable information and advanced alerting.

A skilled leader, Amena brings to Earth Networks more than 20 years of management experience with innovative high-tech firms ranging in size from $10 million to $30 billion. Prior to joining Earth Networks, she served as CMO at Bethesda, Md.-based Arxan Technologies, a leading developer of application security solutions. Amena’s experience includes senior marketing positions at Softek Storage Solutions (now a part of IBM) and EMC Corporation. Prior, Amena held similar positions at Legato Systems and OTG Software, both of which were acquired by EMC. She also held executive-level consumer marketing and finance positions at MCI, and was a management consultant with Bain & Company. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Yale University.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Amena Ali to Earth Networks,” says Earth Networks CEO Bob Marshall. “Her depth and breadth of experience in both consumer and enterprise marketing, with notable accomplishments in market expansion, product positioning and partner relationships, as well as branding and go-to-market strategies, will be invaluable as we increase our business globally. Her insight, creativity, and leadership will be essential as we rapidly grow our business to provide global weather, climate and GHG intelligence to businesses, governments and consumers on a scale that has never been done before.”

Cultural awareness overcomes lies and misconceptions

BOSTON,MA–Many Americans have adopted false impressions of Muslims, said Muhammad Ali-Salaam, the former deputy director of special projects for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, who converted to Islam in 1975.

Speaking at the Arab, Muslim and Sikh Cultural Awareness Program in the Behrakis Health Sciences Center on Tuesday, Ali-Salaam told some two-dozen members of the Northeastern University community, “People thought all Muslims wore turbans, had brown skin and were most likely associated with Afghanistan or the Middle East.

“The stereotype of what a Muslim is,” he said, “doesn’t hold water.”

The event provided insight into the cultural, religious and historical traditions of Arabs, Muslims and Sikhs, said Naomi Thompson Hall, the associate director of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, which sponsored the program.

“The presentation,” she said, “is part of an on-going discussion about diversity, religion and being respectful.”

Sara Rivera, an administrative assistant for the Latino Student Cultural Center, learned that Islamic women are allowed to vote and required to pursue an education.

“Now, when someone makes a false statement,” she said, “I’ll be able to say, ‘that’s not true.’”

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