Anything She Hasn’t Done?


Arianna Velasquez

Senior Sana Shah: In her years at Cal Lutheran, Shah has founded the Muslim Students Alliance club, researched pesticide exposure and taken part in many campus organizations.

Arianna Velasquez, Reporter

Sana Shah, a senior at California Lutheran University, is the fourth person in her family to join Cal Lutheran’s community.

Shah is a chemistry major with a mathematics minor. She chose this combination because she said that mathematics  and chemistry go hand-in-hand.

Her brother Raheel Shah graduated Cal Lutheran with a bachelor’s in Sociology in 2017, and her younger brother Amir Shah is a sophomore at Cal Lutheran majoring in computer science. Additionally her mother Nighat Shah currently works at Cal Lutheran as an assistant for global engagement.

“I chose this school as the one I belong to,” Shah said. “It’s like a home away from home kind of thing.”

Although she is a commuter, Shah has still found ways to stay involved on campus.

“Commuters really do have involvement on campus …commuters are able to really have their impact on the school,” Shah said.

Shah is the vice president of the American Chemical Society chemistry club, an Alumni and Family Relations student worker, a Campus Ministry student representative, a student ambassador, an international peer mentor and the president of the Muslim Students Alliance club.

“She is very hard working. She juggles between her studies, her job, her club as well as she is a Sunday school teacher in one of the Islamic centers,” Nighat Shah said.

When Shah started at Cal Lutheran she decided to personally start up MSA club.

“She is always looking for opportunities to kind of, learn and perform her leadership and I definitely I see her growing from the first time we said ‘Sana you can start your club if you are so passionate about it,” Nighat Shah said.

Cal Lutheran is a faith-affiliated school. Shah said she felt welcomed and supported here, and she wanted other Muslim’s  like her to feel the same way.

“The purpose of it is to bring students of all identities together, non-Muslims as well as Muslims on our campus, and promote like, a safe environment for everyone to talk about Islamic culture and faith,” Shah said.

When Shah started the club she said she knew it had the ability to grow. Shah said Cal Lutheran is a pluralistic society, meaning that people are open and want to get to know one another.

Being involved on campus has given Shah the ability to meet other students who want to learn about Islamic faith and customs she said.

She has been the president of the MSA club all four years of its existence. In those years, MSA has grown and connected with other faith and culture organizations on campus through interfaith events.

Through her major, Shah had the ability to perform research over summer with chemistry professor Grady Hanrahan.

Hanrahan is Shah’s faculty mentor for the Ronald E. McNair Post baccalaureate Achievement Program.

This research allowed Shah to continue pursuing her passion for chemistry and her genuine concern for the health and well-being of populations that may be affected by pesticide exposure, Hanrahan said in an email interview.

“Sana has opened my eyes to new areas of research and exploration in the chemistry field. There is something infectious and observable about someone who displays noticeable desire for their work and concern for residents in the community,” Hanrahan said in an email interview.

After finishing her degree in chemistry at Cal Lutheran Shah hopes to pursue a master’s degree.