Safiya Noel was born and raised in New York City. Her passion for international affairs and development began when she traveled to Senegal and Morocco as part of the International Youth Leadership Institute (IYLI) Summer Heritage Program She completed service projects in the local communities and conducted several ethnography studies to research renewable energy and immigration relations in the country.
Safiya graduated in 2019 from Barnard College with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Africana Studies. During her undergraduate studies, she worked in public affairs with several organizations, including Citizens’ Committee for Children (CCC) and the Commission on Gender Equity (CGE). She conducted research on education policies in New York City and received the Eleanor Roosevelt Founders’ Award for her outstanding achievements in advocacy and social justice. Upon graduation, Safiya joined Teach for America to teach in under-resourced public schools. Through the program, she also received her Master’s in Arts for Teaching (M.A.T) from Relay Graduate School for Education.
In graduate school, Safiya hopes to go beyond the classroom and explore the role of education in building social and economic equity within communities. In her spare time, Safiya enjoys dancing, cooking, and watching movies. She is honored to be selected as a 2022 Payne Fellow and plans to join the USAID Foreign Service as an Education Officer.