Faculty and Instructors


Writing Instructors

Writing instructors make a remarkable contribution to NYUAD's writing culture. Serving as academic support staff, they provide targeted, tailor-made writing support for NYUAD students across their four years of study and across all disciplines. Writing instructors work as course fellows for First-Year Writing Seminars and staff the NYUAD Writing Center.

Name Description
Samia Ahmed

Samia Ahmed has been a Writing Instructor with the NYUAD Writing Program since 2018. Before joining the team, Samia graduated from NYUAD (2016), where she studied political science, religious studies, and history. She then obtained her Master's in Religious Studies from McGill University (2017), where, as a Fulbright recipient, she focused on Islamic fundamentalism and Islamic intellectual history. Samia's current research interests include religious studies, Islamic intellectual history, lived religion and religion in the diaspora, South Asian studies, and Muslim women's studies.

As a Writing Instructor, Samia supports various student projects, including capstone projects, research publications, and application materials of all kinds (such as for graduate school, employment opportunities, and global scholarships). Samia also serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Writing Program and Writing Center.

David Allway

David is from London, England, and has been teaching since the mid-90s, firstly in Europe, then here in the UAE for the last 10 years.

From poetry workshops with 6-year-olds to assisting PhD students with dissertations, his working life has been diverse. He has enjoyed working with students of all ages and abilities and from many different cultures.

Ideally, he advocates a long-term approach to developing writing skills (over merely problem solving). However, there will always be times when a tricky piece of writing needs a 'quick fix' or even just a fresh pair of eyes.  

His MA in Applied Linguistics used an Exploratory Practice framework: an approach that emphasizes the importance of 'quality of life' for learners (and teachers) both inside and outside the classroom. He believes much of his success (and enjoyment) as an educator is derived from building supportive, creative, and productive relationships with learners. He approaches texts with an eye for detail but without losing sight of the big picture.

When he's not rescuing local street cats, he's listening to podcasts or reading books about history, philosophy, and psychology.

Aieshah Arif

Aieshah has been in a diverse range of roles — marketing manager, French language lecturer, higher education administrator, research assistant, and, more recently, founder of a small concrete design business. Yet, her heart has always been in writing, language, and language acquisition.

With a background in communications and new media, Aieshah has worked for various magazines and publications as a journalist, translator, and editor. She has also worked extensively with students on their writing through the Writers' Centre at Yale-NUS College and the National University of Singapore.

Apart from her love for writing and language, Aieshah has too many hobbies. She spends infinite hours drawing, dancing, reading, making handmade items, and watching horror movies.

Idil Barre

Idil is a Writing Instructor at NYU Abu Dhabi with a BA in Marketing and Digital Media and an MA in Applied Linguistics from Curtin University in Australia. She has a wealth of experience teaching students from a range of backgrounds and career paths and has facilitated a multitude of elementary and advanced-level writing programs. Idil finds particular joy in helping students gain confidence in their academic writing and finding their unique 'voice'. Before her time at NYU Abu Dhabi, she worked with international students to increase their capacity to pursue further studies and equip them with the language skills necessary to navigate their new lives in Australia.

Idil considers herself a life-long learner and relishes new experiences. Outside of her professional life, she enjoys cinematic experiences, especially of the sci-fi kind.

Neelam Hanif Neelam Hanif has a Master in Applied Linguistics from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a BA (Hons) in English Literature from Hunter College, City University of New York. She taught ESL in the United States for several years and was an adjunct lecturer at the Department of Developmental Skills at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, USA. Her most recent assignment was at Forman Christian College (A Chartered University) in Lahore, Pakistan, where she established a writing center at the institution and was a faculty member in the Department of English. Her areas of interest include L2 Reading and Writing, the relationship of Language, Ethnicity, and Identity, Sociolinguistics including Varieties of English: Pakistani English, Teaching English as a Second Language, and Language Education and Policy.
Sweta Kumari

Sweta Kumari calls herself a storyteller. She immensely enjoys sharing and listening to personal stories, for she believes stories help you appreciate the uniqueness of human beings.

She grew up in a small village in Jharkhand (India) in a family of progressive parents and loving brothers. However, girls in her community were not encouraged to have higher education or dream of a career. She defied norms by not only finishing high school but moving to Bangladesh on a full scholarship to attend college. Asian University for Women became her stepping stone, and she never looked back. Post her Bachelors in Liberal Arts, Sweta moved to pursue a PG Diploma in Liberal Studies, aka The Young India Fellowship, at Ashoka University, India. She worked briefly as a Teaching Assistant at Ashoka University and thoroughly enjoyed teaching. Her passion for Liberal Arts, writing, and academia brought her to NYUAD. As an Assistant Instructor of Writing, she looks forward to adding new dimensions to her Teaching and Learning experiences.

Sweta majored in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE). Her academic interests vary from Gender and Sexuality Studies, Literature and Cultural Studies to Study of Religions, International Relations, Migration, and Diaspora.

Marwa Mehio Marwa has been an academic writing instructor since 2011 and has worked with writers in engineering, social sciences, and humanities; she also has experience with Writing Across the Disciplines and the Writing Center. Marwa has a Ph.D. (2023) in Composition and Applied Linguistics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and an M.A. (2011) and B.A. (2008) in English Literature from the American University of Beirut. As a teacher-scholar, she is interested in multilingual, transnational, and international composition; postcolonial and critical pedagogies; and the role of power, ideology, and identity in language learning and use. She believes that students are writers before they come into the classroom and the teacher's role is to guide them through learning to draw on their existing literacies as they move to academic writing. Throughout this process, students can develop voice and agency in their writing as well as the ability to communicate in any context.
Samia Meziane

When she's not agonis/zing over the differences between British and American spelling and grammar, Samia might be found playing the newest JRPG, hidden behind a graphic novel, or cooking up an experiment in the kitchen. While an undergrad at NYUAD, she majored in Literature. In unwitting preparation for her role as a Writing Instructor, Samia spent many years close to the fields of writing and teaching, with experience in proofreading, tutoring, editing, student advising, and even covert satirical journalism. After graduating, she honed her skills as a writing tutor by spending a year working as a Writing and Speaking Fellow at NYU Shanghai.

Since returning to NYUAD, Samia has worked with numerous FYWS courses and has facilitated core workshops on both writing and listening, and speaking. She also works closely with the peer tutoring program and is excited to continue to do so this year.

Yusuf Samara Yusuf Samara is an Instructor of Writing at NYU Abu Dhabi. He enjoys all things reading and writing, and he works to inspire that same joy and enthusiasm in others. Yusuf has a diversity of experience within higher education, including in administration, alumni programming, and outreach. Previously, he worked at NYU Abu Dhabi in the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Community Programs, and before that, he worked at Zaytuna College in California, USA. He has also worked as an English language teacher in Seoul, South Korea. Yusuf holds a Bachelor's degree from Yale University and a Master's degree in Higher Education from Pennsylvania State University. His Master's thesis explored the challenges faced by Muslim students in US higher education institutions.
Zachary Shellenberger Zachary Shellenberger completed a BA in German Language and Area Studies and a BA in Russian Language and Literature before completing his MA in Applied Linguistics at Penn State University in 2015. Before joining the Writing Program at NYUAD in the Fall of 2016, he taught in the Intensive English Communication Program (IECP) at Penn State. His main research interests lie in critical discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, and language policy. Moreover, he is concerned with fostering initiatives that support a positive culture of multilingualism (specifically via code meshing in writing) at higher education institutions, especially within the context of the Arabian Gulf. In addition, he has a keen interest in gesture studies and sign language. Apart from academics, Zak has a considerable presence as a food writer for Best Bites Abu Dhabi, as well as a sizable collection of hot sauces. All things considered, he's a certifiable language buff and foodie.
Haewon Yoon

Haewon graduated from NYUAD with a degree in Social Research and Public Policy in 2021. Her Capstone focused on the changing representation of gender in South Korean media.

After spending a year growing her interest in sustainability and biodiversity in Korea, she's grateful and excited to be back on campus to engage with the NYUAD community as a writing instructor.

Jamie Zipfel

Jamie considers both teaching and learning to be a gift. She's had the opportunity to work in secondary schools, community colleges, and universities; she's also been welcomed in corporate boardrooms, refugee resettlement centers, and prisons. Wherever there are people ready to learn, there she'll be.

Jamie enjoys being a student as much as she loves working with them. She holds Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing and Communication Studies from Ohio University (US). While there, she also became an award-winning public speaker. She's currently pursuing a Master's degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology at the Harvard Extension School, where her research interests include justice, burnout, and gender in leadership. She hopes to use what she knows to help students and organizations thrive.

When she's not working or studying, Jamie co-hosts a weekly writer's summit in Abu Dhabi, where she often shares her own nonfiction and poetry. She spent the pandemic learning to play the guitar, and can usually be found playing Bob Dylan covers to her cat, Delilah--who is so far unimpressed. She'll keep working on it.