AACC 2024 Staff Picture

Meet the Staff

Ji Lee Headshot

Ji Lee, Director

Contact: ji.lee@rutgers.edu

MSW, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
B.S. in Physiology
B.A. in Chemistry

Ji Lee joined the Rutgers Student Affairs team in 2001 and currently serves as the Director for the Asian American Cultural Center for 14 years and has also worked as a health educator and community health outreach worker, all of which have fed her passion for health, holistic wellness, and advancing social justice through service to the underserved. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Science in Physiology from Michigan State University, and a Master in Social Work from Rutgers University.

Photo of Naima Chowdhury

Naima Chowdhury, Assistant Director

Contact: naimach@echo.rutgers.edu

B.A Women and Gender Studies and Visual Arts, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
M.A. Ethics and Society, Fordham University

I am a proud EOF graduate and McNair scholar of Rutgers University–New Brunswick. Prior to joining, I worked in residential life for Stockton University, where I co-created and oversaw the Residential Oasis for Intercultural Engagement. My dedication to create inclusive safe spaces for students of color stems from my experience of growing up as a first-generation college student in a predominately white community. The need for equal access and opportunities in the Asian Pacific Islander and Desi American (APIDA) community led me to serve Rutgers students.

My work for intercultural engagement and social justice impacted many students of color learn to advocate for themselves and for their marginalized communities. I chose to serve the Asian American Cultural Center because I want to continue develop and guide students to become ethical leaders, who will decrease the social inequities in the world. At AACC, I use my expertise in programming and student development to create more inclusive and safe spaces where we promote equality and respect human dignity and life as the most valuable foundation of our community.


Shaheena Shahid, Senior Program Coordinator

Contact: Sys30@echo.rutgers.edu

Ed.M in Foreign Language Education and ESL, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
M.A in Development and Diplomacy with specialization in Human Rights/Sustainable Development, University of Peace
B.A. in African Middle Eastern South Asian Language and Literature (AMESALL) and B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Shaheena Shahid is one of our new Senior Program Coordinators at the AACC. Shahid has experience working in K-12 to university settings, as well as refugee camps, shanty towns and orphanages across the world, teaching literacy, social justice, cultural competency. As a first generation American, OF scholar, she also has a double master’s in Education from Rutgers Graduate School of Education as well as Sustainable Development/ Diplomacy degree from the University of Peace. She is fluent in 6 languages (English, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Spanish and Portuguese) and is also a former Gilman and Fulbright Scholar. Shahid has also worked as an immigration paralegal assisting in translation and asylum-seeking cases. She is a licensed translator. Shahid is a published author of 5 books. Shahid is the founder of Hijabi Nomad, which provides curriculum advice/materials and prepares travelers.

Lauren Irshad

Lauren Irshad, Administrative Assistant

Contact: li92@echo.rutgers.edu

B.A Fine Arts in Design, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Center for Continuing Professional Studies - Brand Management Experience Certification, Fashion Institute of Technology
Center for Continuing Professional Studies - Setting a Course for Your Business, Fashion Institute of Technology

Lauren joined the Asian American Cultural Center in 2023 from a retail background working as a Senior Leader in big brands including Abercrombie & Fitch, Bloomingdales, and Ralph Lauren. The majority of her career was spent working at Abercrombie & Fitch which predominantly catered to the college-age work demographic. Learning early on how much of an impact a strong leader and mentor can make in someone’s life, Lauren made it her mission to help coach and mold her teams into future leaders. Alongside training and mentoring, Lauren has experience in sales, business metrics and analytics, visual display, and merchandising, as well as Human Resources including hiring, onboarding, and training. She was also heavily involved in philanthropic efforts including The Trevor Project, Shatterproof (Ending the Addiction Crisis), JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and Bag Hunger. In her free time, Lauren is passionate about cat rescue and TNR (Trap Neuter Release), she is an active member of Rutgers Scarlet Paws serving community cats across the Rutgers Campus. 

After relocating from NYC Lauren stepped out of her retail role into a new field with hopes to serve and make a difference in the local community. As a newly converted Muslim, Lauren strives to help students find their own way into their culture and religion and hopes to be a safe space for students to work through their identities.