Dr. Tojan Rahhal
Award-winning Scientist, Engineer, Speaker, and Diversity Educator
Dr. Tojan Rahhal was born and raised in North Carolina. She earned a Biomedical Engineering degree with a focus on tissue engineering and biotechnology from NC State University. Then went on to pursue a PhD in Pharmaco-engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Ch), working in the lab of Dr. Joseph M. DeSimone. Her research focused on nanotechnology and translational medicine. She developed micro- and nanoparticle therapeutics for pulmonary delivery using the PRINT® fabrication technique. Outside of her research efforts, Dr. Rahhal demonstrated commitment to service and leadership in the academic community, constantly promoting awareness of issues regarding equality in science. Dr. Rahhal will be completing her Master of Law in Dispute Resolution this year where she will be qualified to serve as an arbitrator, mediator, and work on conflict resolution with clients as well.
Dr. Rahhal will start with Engineering World Health as their CEO/President on August 1st. Previously she served as the Assistant Dean of Inclusive Excellence and Strategic Initiatives and as Adjunct Assistant Professor in Biomedical, Biological, and Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She was recently recognized with the 2020 MU Study Abroad Teaching Excellence award for her unique curriculum combining diversity and inclusion in engineering. She has also been selected as a National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA) Women of Color History Maker in Diversity for her leadership in efforts to “catalyze change to help [engineering] students from underrepresented populations overcome historic barriers”. Furthermore, Dr. Rahhal was chosen for the Shirley Chisholm Outspoken Advocate Award, the Outstanding Staff award by the College and again by the Engineering Student Council this past year.
Earlier in her career, Rahhal developed the NCSU IMSD Ambassadors program which provided fifth graders the opportunity to meet a scientist over lunch. She also served as co-chair and then chair of UNC’s Women in Science group and was also a part of developing Science in the Stacks, an outreach program for children that enables hands-on science related activities at the local library.
Dr. Rahhal was inducted into Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society; the Order of the Golden Fleece, UNC’s highest and oldest honor society; and the Frank Porter Graham Graduate and Professional Student Honor Society, which recognizes outstanding service provided to the University and community, as well as chosen as the most outstanding graduate student in Pharmaceutical Sciences due to her commitment to higher education and service.
Amongst several programs, Rahhal developed a Cross-Cultural Leadership Development Curriculum to advance leadership skills as they relate to the diversity and understanding of cultural differences in our global workforce as a student at UNC- Chapel Hill. This workshop has been performed by Rahhal in front of numerous audiences at UNC, including the Eshelman School of Pharmacy students and faculty, and has now become part of the graduate program orientation and TA training sessions at UNC and over 10 other programs across the USA.
We are pleased to welcome Layla Kharbat to the Alliance team for Summer 2020.
Layla is a rising junior at NC State University (GO PACK!) studying Psychology and Spanish. She has a passion for understanding the many complexities that make up our mind and how it functions. Another passion for Layla is learning languages; she is fluent in English, Arabic, Spanish and is starting Japanese classes this fall (WOW!). Fighting against discrimination and advocating for social justice has always been second nature to her, so we are thrilled to have Layla join our team. Her hobbies include drawing, creating new makeup and fashion looks, and listening to some good music.
Layla will work with us on continuing social justice advocacy, content creation, marketing and web design, as well as joining some of our workshop presentations!