Senior Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness
Aliyah is a life-long advocate for social justice and racial equity as a means to propel society forward. She truly believes in the power of organizations and communities to work together to solve the problems of the most marginalized.
Aliyah is a long time resident of Durham, NC and a graduate of Duke University (BS Computer Science and Math) and UNC Kenan-Flagler (MBA). As part of Durham’s activist community she is co-founder and Board Chair of Communities in Partnership (CIP). CIP is a non-profit community-rooted organization that cultivates grassroots leadership in east Durham through developing and organizing local community members to work towards racial, social, and economic liberation. As part of her work in east Durham she is a long serving board member of Maureen Joy, a community school serving low wealth students of color with a commitment to ensuring that students receive an excellent education while also equipping them with the social justice knowledge and tools necessary to be active citizens engaged in social change.
For almost a decade, Aliyah Abdur-Rahman worked on the Admissions team at Teach For America, most recently as a VP of Admissions. During her tenure she was responsible for utilizing her love of technology and design thinking to reimagine the admissions process, ushering in changes that moved the organization from paper to an online platform, increased the number of opportunities for applicants to apply to the corps, and improved the ease with which applicants could apply. These changes opened space for her most significant work of leading the Admissions team’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Her team’s work centered on creating an equitable admissions process which led to re-envisioning the Admissions team’s mission, and ultimately resulted in new research and methodologies to measure applicant effectiveness, and anti-bias training for staff interviewers.
Aliyah’s work significantly improved the efficiency of admissions at Teach For America, allowing the organization to scale its admissions process from 25,000 to more than 50,000 applicants, and to more effectively screen and select applicants in a manner that led to one the most diverse corps in the organization’s recent history.
Aliyah is able to fully engage in her commitment for social justice with the support and love of her husband, two children, mother, stepfather, aunts, and extended family who are integral to her life. You can always find Aliyah attending a community event, enjoying one of Durham’s many festivals, or seeking ways to combine efforts with other activist-entrepreneurs.