Ayana is the Research Project Coordinator at the Jefferson Education Exchange (JEX). As the Project Coordinator, she works closely with the JEX research team and leadership to manage, monitor, and provide administrative support for all JEX research initiatives and projects.
Before Ayana came to JEX she received her Bachelor’s in Islamic Studies, South Asian Languages, and Plan II Honors from the University of Texas. Throughout her undergraduate career, she worked with various Austin and Houston based nonprofits to support locally resettled refugees. She served as a teaching assistant in ESL classes and worked to integrate refugee families into the Texas school system. She also partnered with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) and lead a team of UT students to conduct field research on linguistically isolated families in one specific district. Ayana’s report on the findings now serve as the basis for HACA’s smartphone training course for Arabic speakers.
After years of working with refugee families in a state like Texas, Ayana learned a great deal about the challenges these families and their schools face when attempting to integrate refugee and asylee children into the system. She is now passionately committed to learning about ways educational technology can provide solutions to these problems and create a stronger foundation for families and teachers to succeed in America.