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“At four years old, my aspirations filled the walls of Afghan Academy as my teachers encouraged me to be not only the best for myself, but also my community. Finding where my voice belonged as an Afghan American was tedious and frustrating. I’ve spent years looking for ways to uncap the Afghan voice that’s been silenced in America. Through my journey of unraveling the Afghan narrative, I’ve had the pleasure of performing at the White House, Kennedy Center, Madison Square Garden, and the Canadian Center of Parliament. At seventeen years old, I now hold the title of being the first Afghan-American and Muslim Woman to be awarded the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival Poetry Slam Champion. I bring my experience and understanding back into the classroom I was once in, now teaching Quran at Afghan Academy.”

-Marjan Naderi



Madiha Azimi graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Community Health with a concentration in Physician Assistant (PA). She has over 3 years of work experience in the ER as a medical scribe with doctors & PAs/NPs and is currently in the process of working from home with doctors across the nation. Madiha was first introduced to Afghan Academy (AA) as a child where she was a student for 10 years. After successfully finishing Afghan Academy, she then decided to give back to the school who shaped her into the person she is today, by volunteering to teach Quran to the students. She has been a dedicated Quran teacher at Afghan Academy for over 5 years now and absolutely enjoys it. Two items that are very dear to her heart, and where she carries everywhere, is her prayer rug and yoga mat.



“I’ve been with Afghan Academy for only a few months, but in this short time I’ve had a blast volunteering at events as I’ve gotten to make great friends and feel involved with the community.”

-Furhad Nasserjah


Furhad Nasserjah graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology. He is currently enrolled as a graduate student to obtain a masters in evolutionary biology and works full time as a Biologist at the National Institute of Health and as a Biology Professor with Kaplan. He creates artwork, restores classic cars and competes in lacrosse and competitive triathlons in his free time. He enjoys dancing but lacks fundamental coordination, balance and talent. He also has a witty sense of humor and a smile that’ll brighten up the gloomiest of days.



Aisha Azimi graduated from the George Washington University with a Bachelor Degree in Speech Pathology and a concentration in Communication Disorders. She currently works as a government contractor for USAID sharing stories of people living in conflict. She is passionate about helping show the world that every story matters and was recently featured in a documentary on Muslims in America. Aisha has been involved with Afghan Academy for a few months, and she is excited to be modeling her ethnic heritage in a Tajik dress for the Afghanistan Night fashion show.



Marina Hakami joined Afghan Academy through organizing Afghanistan Night 2019 under the Finance Committee. She lives in Springfield, VA and graduated from George Mason University obtaining a B.S. Accounting and B.S. Marketing. Marina is working towards getting an MBA. She is currently working as a Federal Audit Advisor. Her background consists of experience in Financial Statement Audits and providing Audit Readiness services to both DoD and non-DoD Federal agencies.  Her hobbies include baking, traveling, reading, shopping and hosting family/friends. She is excited to be a part of the Afghan Academy family to really impact and encourage unity amongst current and future generations of DMV Afghans.



Pakiza Rahmati is a senior at Robert E. Lee High School. She aspires to be a lawyer one day. She received a President’s Award in addition to other certificates for outstanding academic achievements. She is a student at Afghan Academy School and likes to volunteer for the events by helping with the media, logistics, and performance committees.



Sohrob Niaz is a senior at McLean High School with dual enrollment at NOVA. He is transferring to George Mason in the fall. Sohrob is on the path to become a volunteer firefighter/EMT at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department.  He recently joined AA a few months ago, and enjoys meeting the other members and assists with organizing the different events. Sohrob hopes to pursue a career in medicine. His hobbies include playing sports, hanging out with friends and family, and hopefully learning to play the tabla.



Sadaf Islamzada is dedicated member of her local Afghan community. During the day, she works as a consultant, supporting the migration of financial systems for her federal clients. In her off time, she volunteers as a Cultural and Religious History teacher at Afghan Academy School, where she works closely with her students. Sadaf also holds the role of Presidential Advisor with the non-profit organization. Her goal is to push for more open dialogue and encourage growth within the Afghan community. When Sadaf is not partaking in community activities, she enjoys traveling, photography, and journalism.



Mariam Sherdil is a senior at George Mason University. She is majoring in biology and aspires to be an nurse anesthetist.  Mariam started going to Afghan Academy School at the age of 3 years old, and became an Islamic Studies teacher for 2 years. She now assists with the events and volunteers with logistics. Mariam loves helping the community and enjoys the company of her peers.



“Afghan culture is extremely diverse and a true treasure, so by joining the Afghan Academy team, I hope to inspire others to celebrate our culture here in America.”

-Amir Noori


Amir Noori is currently pursuing an I.T. degree at NOVA, and plans to transfer to George Mason University. His interests include making music, poetry, and soccer. As a kid, he attended Afghan Academy School regularly. In recent years, he has put in effort into trying to be more active in the Afghan-American community in Northern Virginia. Amir believes it is very important that kids born in America, like himself, do not lose touch with the culture of their forefathers.



Marjon Azimi is a sophomore at Gar-Field Senior High school. She is currently taking 2 computer science classes and aspires to work in the IT field one day. Marjon has attended Afghan Academy School as a student for 8 years, and is currently a teacher’s assistant for Quran classes. She is very happy to be a part of Afghan Academy as it gets her involved with the Afghan-American community. She has a passion for makeup and loves her cats. Her hobbies include traveling and going to the gym.


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Mariam Barakat has been a part of Afghan Academy since she was a young girl, and feels like it’s been a big part of her life. She started as a student at the Afghan Academy School, and is now going on to her third year as a Quran teacher (with proper tajweed) for 1st and 7th graders. “Everyone is so wonderful and love the social events we are planning for this year,” says Mariam. She aspires to become a psychologist and is currently studying psychology at Northern Virginia Community College. “I enjoy being a teacher at Afghan Academy School and am excited to see what the future holds for this expanding school. Being amongst my students allows me to learn more about myself.” Some of her hobbies include cooking, weight lifting, running, and drawing.



Sofia Rohani is a new addition to Afghan Academy (AA). “When joining AA you join a family. In the recent months, I’ve gotten to meet the most genuine and caring people,” says Sofia. She is currently at NOVA and plans to transfer to George Mason University to finish her nursing degree. Her hobbies include yoga, playing with her dog, and perfecting her attan skills. “Anytime you join something new, there’s always a fear of not feeling accepted or being anxious; however, when joining AA, you will feel immediately loved and welcomed.”


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