New Staff and Faculty Join NU-Q

September 25, 2013

NU-Q has welcomed a number of new staff and faculty over the past few months. Learn more about them:


Emily Alp is writer/editor at NU-Q, where she works in the Office of Strategic Communications, Marketing and Media.


Safna Ansaruddin has been working in higher education for the past 10 years in Qatar. Prior to joining NU-Q, she served as associate registrar at College of North Atlantic-Qatar, where she was responsible for developing policies and procedures for enrollment, registration management, academic advising and the implementation of technology systems to support registration and record keeping functions. Ansaruddin holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering and a master’s degree in business administration. Additionally, she has achieved professional certification in PeopleSoft campus solution modules and is a certified member of the Institute of Leadership and Management in the United Kingdom.


Leon Braswell has over two decades in admissions and enrollment management at the undergraduate and graduate levels in some of the country’s most selective universities. Before arriving at Northwestern University in Qatar, he was the director of admissions and financial aid at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. At Columbia, he focused on strengthening admissions, broadening the school’s international profile and improving diversity in the student body. Before Columbia, Braswell worked with undergraduates as director of international and transfer admissions at Tufts University. At Tufts he also worked closely with the alumni and development office to expand and grow the university’s outreach efforts to alumni abroad and parents of international students. Other appointments included service as assistant dean of admissions at Bowdoin College and the University of Vermont, and as an independent college counselor as director of Edvice, Ltd. in London, UK.

Braswell received his BA (cum laude) in political science and a certificate in Latin American Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and did graduate work at Harvard University where was awarded an EdM in administration, planning and social policy as well as a Certificate in Advanced Studies at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. During his time at Harvard, Braswell was a teaching fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard Graduate School of Education in classes that focused on leadership, organizational dynamics and higher education. Braswell has consulted on leadership, college access and other topics while also making presentations at major national meetings on international admissions, recruitment and technology, as well as admissions professionals of color, and other race and gender topics.


Judith Britten is administrative assistant at NU-Q for the Office of Academic Affairs.


Donovan Burba joined NU-Q in May 2013 to manage publications across the school. Previously, he worked at a custom publishing firm in Chicago, overseeing trade magazines for global clients. He began his career as a newspaper reporter, and has also worked in higher-education recruiting. He has a BA in English from the University of Iowa and an MA in social sciences from the University of Chicago, where he studied race and gender identities in the early 20th century United States.


Patti Collins brings to Northwestern University in Qatar 22 years of counseling experience. She is a licensed professional counselor and supervisor in the State of Texas and is board certified in biofeedback by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance as an associate fellow. Collins earned a Master of Education degree in school psychology (a specialist-level program) from the University of Cincinnati. Collins was previously a counselor at Texas A&M University prior to becoming coordinator for counseling and wellness at TAMU in Qatar in 2005. In 2008, she was honored with the Texas A&M University Distinguished Achievement Award. She joined NU-Q in 2011 as health & wellness counselor. While Collins’ experience has been predominately in college counseling centers, she has also worked in the public schools and in private practice. Her areas of expertise include mood and anxiety disorders, stress management, issues of transition and adjustment, disordered eating, academic interventions and trauma/loss.


Laura Rae Hokenstad has been in the emergency management field for more than 15 years and has extensive field experience at localized, national and international levels. Before arriving at Northwestern, she served as a government liaison and coordinated disaster response and recovery operations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross. Previously, she oversaw the implementation of disaster response strategies as well as leading an emergency management team as director for the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management in Nashville, Tennessee. Additionally, Laura developed and directed a training and exercise program for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Bureau of Emergency Management (DOHMH) in New York City. While there, she served on the Centers for Disease Control’s national Pandemic Influenza National Exercise Guidance workgroup, and was lead adviser for a DOHMH emergency management curriculum implemented for 6,500 employees.

Internationally, as a panel member at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, in 2011, she advised on post-catastrophic earthquake recovery and strategic preparedness. She has also consulted on emergency preparedness projects in the Caribbean. She holds a BA in anthropology and sociology from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, and an MS in social administration from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. She is a FEMA Master Exercise Practitioner (MEP) and has served as an adjunct instructor at the Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Maryland, since 2006.


Originally from Princeton, New Jersey, Hyon received a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University with a journalism & media studies and psychology double major. Having previously worked in a number of internships and jobs in marketing, public relations, and the publishing industry, she began work at a mid-size health nonprofit in New York City following graduation, working first in development, and later in its meetings and events department. Hyon has a Master of Arts degree in higher education from the University of Michigan, where she worked two years in the Office of Student Affairs at the School of Education. There, she worked closely with undergraduate and graduate students to organize events, orientation, student ambassador programs and recruitment initiatives, and to coordinate the teacher education preferred admissions program.


Munjulika Rahman has a PhD in performance studies from Northwestern University and a BA in communication studies and creative writing from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.


Bianca Simon has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Oxford College, Hubli, affiliated with Karnatak University, India. Prior to joining NU-Q in 2013, she was an administrative assistant at College of the North Atlantic-Qatar in its Office of Applied Research and Innovation and in its Security Academy.