Gabrial Babella was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved to Arizona in 2011. He, along with a group of young nationalists, established the Assyrian Student Association (ASA) in 2013. Gabrial is serving his second term as president where he oversees the activities of the ASA as well as assisting the board of directors in their roles.
In 2014, Gabrial received the Assyrian American Cultural Organization’s “Assyrian Man of the Year” award. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences with a focus of business and non-profits. Being the son of drummer Victor Babella, he enjoys playing drums and percussions with his friends. He also enjoys traveling the world with some previous destinations including Iraq, Australia, the Bahamas, Dubai, England, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey.
Gabrial was influenced to work in Assyrianism by his family. He was named after his paternal grandfather who traveled to the United States in the early 1900’s and moved back to the homeland in the 1930’s to teach at the Assyrian School of Kirkuk. His maternal grandfather was an Assyrian Levie who fought alongside many other Assyrians in WWII. Also, knowing the atrocities the Assyrian people have been going through to hold on to their identity drives him to work for the Assyrian cause.
Susanna Shamoon was born in Modesto, California and moved to Arizona in 2003. She has been with the Assyrian Student Association since its inception. Susanna is currently serving her second term as the Vice President of the ASA and in her position, she assists the President and performs his duties in his absence. She also assists in directing and supervising the activities of the elected and appointed officers and committee chairmen.
Susanna has been involved in the Assyrian community since she was a child. She was raised in a home with a very nationalistic family. Growing up, she, along with her family, used to attend a cultural club every weekend where she would learn how to dance and participate in plays and other cultural activities. Growing up with a nationalistic background, along with her love for her culture, is what has influenced her to work in Assyrianism for so many years. Susanna is also a part of the Assyrian Aid Society, Arizona chapter, for the past four years now.
Susanna is currently working on obtaining her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences at Arizona State University where she works for the University Technology Office. Susanna would like to further her education by getting a Master’s degree to pursue a career in Speech Language Pathology. Outside of school and work, Susanna enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and traveling the world.
Christopher Zomaya was born in the Baltimore metropolitan area in 1994 to a Syrian-Assyrian father and a Lebanese-Assyrian mother. Growing up in an extremely small Assyrian community of only a few houses (mainly those of his relatives), Christopher was not well versed in what being an Assyrian meant. Nonetheless he loved that which he knew, which exclusively included the 1998 album of Assyrian singer Juliana Jendo. He recalls spending much of his free time sitting inside his family's minivan with the neighborhood children listening to Juliana singing about villages "back home", somewhere out there. In 2002, his family moved cross country from Maryland to Arizona where he would finally begin to learn more about his culture. To this day, his favorite Assyrian singer is Juliana Jendo.
For a few years now, Christopher has studied the Classical Eastern Syriac language in church through the strenuous, yet rewarding practice of pushaqa. His passion for the Assyrian language, culture, and especially its history, both secular and ecclesiastical, had inspired him to obtain a Bachelor's degree in History from Arizona State University in 2016. During his time at University, Christopher achieved the inclusion of the Assyrian flag in every New College convocation ceremony on the West campus. He plans to continue his studies and hopes to become a history professor at the university level.
In July of 2013, Christopher was one of the founding members of the Assyrian Student Association of Arizona, an achievement he is greatly proud of. Since then, he has served three positions on the ASA's Board of Directors: Education Director, ASU Branch President, and is currently serving as Secretary. He is skeptical, yet a believer. He requires precedents, yet enjoys trials. He absolutely loves Star Wars, yet tolerates Star Trek.
Ashtar Malki was born in Chicago Illinois and moved to Arizona in 2001. She joined ASA in November of 2015 and was elected Treasurer, February of 2017. As Treasurer, her job is to oversee, manage, and report all of the finances in ASA.
Ashtar has always been involved with the Assyrian community because of her parents and upbringing. She's traveled to Syria five times in her life and would like to go back in the near future. What made her become even more involved was joining ASA. She loves how passionate everyone from this organization is and would like to continue learning more about her culture.
Ashtar attends Paradise valley community college and will be transferring to Grand Canyon University to complete her bachelors degree in psychology. She will then attend dental school and become a general dentist. She is currently working at a dental office called winning smiles dentistry and has been Dr. Darian's assistant for about four years now. Outside of school and work, she is involved with her church youth group and likes to hangout with friends and family.
Jillian Oshana moved to Arizona from Chicago in February 2015. She was elected as Education Director in October 2015. Her role as Education Director is to manage meetings for the Education committee to create activities that promote cultural and academic education to Assyrian youth in Arizona. Some of the accomplishments by the Education committee have included dance workshops, language classes, lectures, and help with FAFSA and college applications.
Jillian fell in love with being Assyrian after she went on a birthright trip to the homeland with Gishru. Her experience in the homeland has influenced her to work in Assyrianism, by promoting cultural education and higher education amongst the Assyrian youth.
Jillian works full time as a Business Operations Analyst while completing her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Environmental Sciences.
Outside of work and school, she attends the Assyrian Church of the East, and loves to travel to foreign countries. She is married and has one dog.
Marcell Murad moved to Arizona from California in 2002. He joined ASA, October of 2015 and was elected Marketing Director, October of 2016. As Marketing Director, his job is to organize meetings and distribute advertising and media duties amongst his committee.
What influenced him to serve his nation was, the Assyrian Student Association and the amount of work and passion the group puts into their culture.
Marcell works as an auto glass installer and attends Arizona State University as a Global Logistics Major. Outside of school and work, he enjoys playing keyboard and spending time with his friends.
ASU BRANCH PRESIDENT
Nenwe Geeso was born in St. Gallen, Switzerland and moved to Mesa, Arizona in the year 2000 at the age of four. Being raised in a traditional Assyrian home by her parents, Nenwe prioritized her Assyrian roots by deeply involving herself in the Assyrian community. She is serving her first term as ASA at ASU Branch President where she oversees the activities and involvement of the organization and its members at Arizona State University.
Nenwe is currently completing a Bachelor’s degree in Architectural Studies, and is the founder of SOWA+, Student Organization of Women Architects + Allied Arts at the University and is a member of AIAS - American Institute of Architecture Students. Nenwe enjoys spending her time researching and exploring the world around her. Architecture has become a strong passion of hers. She hopes to continue her education and one day be able to design and build for the Assyrian community in the Nineveh Plains.
The effort in keeping the Assyrian name, language, and history alive motivates her to continue working for her nation.