After spending four years of my early childhood in Yemen, I returned to Middle Tennessee where I was born. My family’s business growing up was a Hispanic supermarket in Antioch. This supermarket was my first introduction to Hispanic, and more specifically, Mexican culture. Early on in my studies at Belmont, I began volunteering with the non-profit, Conexión Américas. My fascination with Mexico only grew as I began to meet Mexicans from various parts of the country, trying food from authentic restaurants, and building my confidence in my Spanish. I knew there was a depth and richness to Mexican culture that I had to see for myself. It became my goal to live and work in Mexico after graduating from college. In May 2020, I graduated from Belmont University with a degree in International Business and Management. I was grateful to earn a Fulbright grant and the Lumos award, and am especially grateful to Lumos for honoring my award throughout the numerous delays the pandemic brought on.
While I had originally planned to do Lumos before Fulbright, the pandemic led me to do Fulbright first. I left for Mexico in August 2021, and completed my grant in May 2022. With ten months of living in Mexico under my belt, I feel much more prepared to do my Lumos award.
For a long time, I have been drawn to different ways education and economic empowerment can be used to uplift communities. In college, much of my volunteer work centered around education. The work was fulfilling, but hard. Perhaps inspired by my parents and immigrant communities across the United States, I have always wanted to contribute to communities through economic community development. I started a food tour and Instagram account called Nashville Hidden Gems to call attention to immigrant owned restaurants in Nashville who have a hard time getting recognition in a time where new fancy restaurants open up every week in Nashville. I am excited to utilize what I learned in my business education, as well as my experience running marketing for Nashville Hidden Gems to contribute to what the amazing team at Someone Somewhere does.