Salonee Shah, President
Salonee Shah (’20) is a junior studying Social Policy Analysis and Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities. She started volunteering with PAIR her freshman year and has been passionate about refugee advocacy ever since. In the future, she hopes to pursue her interest in immigrant and refugee healthcare as a physician working in pediatric health care policy. In her free time, she likes to dance, drink sugary coffee, and listen to the same 4 songs on repeat. Salonee hopes to convey the strength and optimism she has learned through working with PAIR’s students to her peers at Rice.
Margaret Baldwin, Internal Vice President
Hi everyone! I’m a senior from Sid Richardson College studying Spanish and Portuguese with a minor in Biochemistry. This is my fourth year volunteering with PAIR and it’s always been one of my favorite parts of Rice. I’m excited to be more involved with PAIR this year on the admin team!
Kevin Chen, External Vice President
Kevin Chen is a junior majoring in Cognitive Sciences and has been involved with mentoring at both Jane Long Academy and Wisdom High School. The stories that he heard and the bonds that he formed with these students inspired him to help with advocacy efforts for the Houston refugee community through the PAIR Newsletter Committee. Kevin’s mentoring experiences also helped shine some light on the barriers to higher education that refugee students commonly face, and encouraged him to pioneer the PAIR STEM Workshop in order to empower refugee youth to contribute to the global community and leave their own mark on the world.
Blaine Schmidt, Secretary
Blaine Schmidt is a junior at Wiess College majoring in Computational and Applied Mathematics. Hoping to learn about refugee issues first-hand, Blaine joined PAIR during his fall semester as a freshman. Over the past two years, he has served as both volunteer and site leader at Las Americas Newcomer School, where he worked with both student refugees and immigrants. The empathy gained from these experiences, along with raised awareness of the legal issues surrounding immigration and resettlement, have contributed substantially towards his interest in law, which he intends to study upon graduation at Rice.
Sajel Dutt, Publicity Chair
Sajel is a sophomore junior from Martel College studying Social Policy Analysis and minoring in Global Health Technologies. She started volunteering with PAIR in her freshman year, mentoring refugees at Jane Long Middle School and has slowly discovered her passion for refugee advocacy and working with kids. PAIR has helped Sajel gain perspective and an appreciation for cross cultural interactions and she has learned so much from her kids about what it means to be courageous and always stay smiling. She hopes to one day become a pediatrician and continue working with refugee youth and be able to travel internationally to learn more about refugee advocacy and global health issues.
Vikram Aggarwal, Treasurer
Vikram is a sophomore at Hanszen College studying Biochemistry and Cell Biology. He is from Dallas, Texas and is really interested in learning about different cultures, especially their unique foods and languages. Vikram became involved in PAIR because he feels that each individual should receive the same rights and opportunities, regardless of their background. He is a site leader at Las Americas Newcomer School and loves playing soccer with the children and seeing them advance and grow to become the incredible individuals they are. In his free time, you’ll probably see him listening to Indian music or sleeping.
Natalie Sanchez, Advocacy Chair
Natalie is a junior from McMurtry College studying Cognitive Sciences. Since her freshman year, she has been involved with PAIR and has mentored refugee students at Wisdom High School, Westbury High School, and currently at Las Americas Newcomer School. She also serves as advocacy chair for the Rice PAIR chapter to increase awareness of the refugee community in Rice and in Houston. In addition, she is currently a site leader at Las Americas Newcomer School. Natalie is passionate about working with PAIR to empower refugee students to reach their potential, and she is grateful for the opportunities to be a mentor and a friend to these students. In her future, she hopes to be a physician who works to alleviate health disparities that the refugee community commonly encounter.