Award-winning faculty member set to read her essay from just-released anthology

October 14, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Shaheen Pasha knows the power of a good story, and she knows how to tell one, too.

Pasha, an assistant teaching professor in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, earned the 2019 SAJA Excellence in Journalism Award for outstanding non-fiction writing about South Asia or the South Asian Diaspora with her piece published on Narratively.com. The article, titled “Searching for the Woman Who Saved My Immigrant Family from Homelessness,” was selected over finalists from Bloomberg and the Washington Post.

A separate work by Pasha was included in “Burn it Down,” a just-released anthology with 22 essays from a diverse group of contemporary women writers. Kirkus Review called the compilation “powerful and provocative … an instructive read for anyone seeking to understand the many faces — and pains — of womanhood in 21st-century America.”

Pasha’s essay, “The Color of Being Muslim,” talks about her rage at “the suffocating expectations of others,” both within and without the Pakistani American community, who saw her as being too Muslim or not Muslim enough. She will be reading her piece at 7 p.m. on Oct. 21 as part of an organized reading about the power of memoir at PowerhouseArena in Brooklyn, New York.

Before joining academia, Pasha was a reporter for Thomson Reuters in Dubai, CNNMoney and Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal. Her extensive journalism experience includes roles as a contributor to outlets such as the Dallas Morning News, the Daily Beast, New England Public Radio, Nieman Reports and USA Today. She was the recipient of a 2018 Fulbright Specialist designation and was named a 2018 Harvard University Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow.

She is teaching courses on ethics and opinion writing this fall and plans to launch a prison journalism program during her time at Penn State.

Last Updated October 14, 2019