Eighth NPAA Award Presented

Extraordinary Scholarship Recipient

by Reena De Asis ’02 (NPAA scholarship recipient)


"You must be the change you wish to see in the world," by Mahatma Gandhi. Zakira Kalyan, the extraordinary recipient of this year’s $1,000 Nonprofit Professionals Alumni Association Award, embodies these words of wisdom.

She graduated cum laude in May 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders. Zakira is an active volunteer on- and off campus. Some of her involvements include being a Sunday School Teacher for Amiably Center, serving on a planning committee for the Social Justice Summit on campus, and being a motivating member of Campus Greens.

She is humbled to receive the NPAA award and it has deepened her drive to continue being of service. The award will assist her in paying for graduate school in the fall, when she will pursue a Master’s degree in speech language pathology communicative disorders from CSUF. Her goals are to invest her passion and time working for Operation Smile and similar nonprofit organizations. She would like to eventually open a speech clinic in Nairobi to assist community members with communication impairments.

After all, Zakira’s story begins in Nairobi, Kenya, where many nights were spent without electricity or sometimes without clean running water. She believes the reason she received the opportunity to move to the United States and achieve success is to use what she has learned and gained in order to help others who are underprivileged.

She currently works for Think Together, supporting the organization’s mission to provide high-quality, academically-oriented, after-school programs. Zakira also volunteers for St. Jude Medical Center's communication recovery program, working directly with adults who have communicative disorders.

Catherine Moore, faculty member of the Department of Human Communication Studies, recommended Zakira for the NPAA award because, “Zakira is a person of integrity and has proven herself to be a very responsible, reliable and conscientious student.” NPAA Awards are supported by contributions from alumni and others who want to encourage students like Zakira to pursue careers or service in the nonprofit sector.

“I truly believe each of us is given the opportunity to use our talents and abilities to help others who are not so fortunate,” said Zakira.