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Zoha Siddiqui

Stamps 1693 Scholarzoha suddiqui

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Arlington, VA (Sidwell Friends School)


International Relations and self-designed major in Transitional Justice

Why W&M

Although I would like to say that I knew William & Mary was the place for me from the first moment that I stepped onto campus, I would be lying. Truthfully, I had no idea which college was right for me, even after application deadlines passed and decisions started rolling in. Information sessions blurred together, and campus tours were dizzying with information. For longer than I care to admit, too, I naively relied on rankings from US News & World Report to decide my college preferences.

When I packed my bags for the 1693 Finalist Weekend in Williamsburg– doubting completely that I would ever receive the scholarship– I was unsure of what to expect, and I was nervous that I would return home with even less clarity about which school to choose. However, after spending a few hours in the Murray House, I began to feel at home. I was struck by the passion, intellect, and generosity of spirit among the 1693 Scholars. I was taken aback by how openly I could interact with professors and how fervently they supported my ideas. I came out of the weekend with a definitive decision to attend William & Mary, connections to teachers and mentors that were already supporting my academic journey, and relationships with students that humbled and inspired me.

W&M Activities
  • Research Fellow for the International Justice Lab
    • Wrote opinion editorials about international justice institutions and Ukraine in Foreign Policy, Washington Post, and
    • I am co-authoring a journal article on 19 past, ongoing, and proposed truth commissions in the United States. I will present the research design of this article at the Southern Political Science Association in January 2023.
    • During Fall 2020, I researched and coded data on the implementation of truth commission recommendations in Timor-Leste, which will be used in Professor Kelebogile Zvobgo’s book “Governing Truth: NGOs, Accountability Politics, and Truth Commissions.”
    • During Spring 2021, I researched and coded the implementation of memorialization-related truth commission recommendations across 15+ other countries.
  • Co-Director of the Exodus Project
    • A new research lab in W&M’s Global Research Institute, the Exodus Project partners with in-country stakeholders to develop evidence-based solutions to challenges faced by vulnerable groups during displacement crises.
    • Published a white paper and opinion editorial on menstruation hygiene management within Venezuelan migrant communities in Colombia. Worked with in-country partners to provide policy recommendations to improve the quality of life for Venezuelan migrant women and girls in Colombia.
    • Co-authoring a white paper on unique issues faced by LGBTQI Ukrainian migrants during the current displacement crisis.
  • Intern for Committee Against Torture at La Comisión Provincial por la Memoria in La Plata, Argentina
    • Studied abroad in Argentina during Spring 2022 and interned with a human rights and transitional justice-focused organization based in La Plata.
    • Analyzed interviews with prisoners to identify incidents of torture, and integrated these interviews into a central database.
    • Visited Argentine prison and spoke to inmates in Spanish about criminal justice and right to education in prisons.
  • Intern for El Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo, National Security Archives, and Arthur Traldi.
    • Archived and analyzed documents for human rights litigation, related to the Holocaust and military dictatorships in Guatemala and Argentina.
  • Research Intern, Project on International Peace and Security (2019-2020) 
    • I collaborated with a research fellow (a senior at W&M) to analyze the rise of transnational repression. I wrote policy briefs for my fellow as well as edited their white paper, which they presented to the State Department and non-profit organizations such as Freedom House.
  • Associate Editor, The Monitor (2019-2020)
    • I edited articles for the William & Mary journal of international studies. We published one issue per semester. 
  • Attorney, Mock Trial (2019-2021)
    • The Mock Trial team litigates criminal or civil cases created by the American Mock Trial Association (but only one case per year). My teammates (other attorneys or witnesses) and I analyzed evidence and affidavits to craft and present statements, direct and cross examinations, and objection arguments.
High School Activities
  • Co-Founder of Non-Profit Organization, HER
    • HER creates sustainable libraries with quality learning materials for underfunded girls' schools in developing countries. We have opened a total of 13 libraries across rural and urban areas of Pakistan and Morocco, which serve about 20,000 students.
  • Student Mentor for LearnServe International
  • Editor-in-Chief of InLight Diversity Magazine
  • Junior and Senior Student Government Representative
  • Junior Varsity Cross-Country
  • Varsity Debate
Awards / Distinctions
  • One of twelve Class of 2024 George J. Mitchell Scholars
  • Taco Bell Foundation Live Más Scholarship
  • 1st Place, Seton Hall Sustainable Development Goals Challenge
  • Ashoka and T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge
  • Ashoka STEM for Changemaking Challenge
  • Connect DMV Social Justice Scholarship