International relations major Saima Mashori ’22 is a 2020 Future First Fellow at Beyond the Bomb, a Washington, D.C.-based organization focused on denuclearization through education and policy reform. She is also a research assistant for Professor of Economics Feisal Khan focused on the constitution of Pakistan, Constituent Assembly debates and the evolution of corruption.
Mashori landed her remote summer fellowship after attending Day on the Hill, a three-day experience to Washington, D.C. facilitated by the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education. During the trip, Mashori connected with Colleen Moore ’16, digital engagement manager for Global Zero and Beyond the Bomb, who sat on a panel of young professionals to discuss her efforts to promote the message of eliminating nuclear weapons.
Mashori says she was intrigued by Moore’s presentation. “When I was in middle school, a bomb exploded near my school so that area of study has piqued my interest,” she says. Moore encouraged Mashori to apply for the fellowship and to investigate the connection between nuclear modernization and issues pertaining to social justice, politics and the environment.
“Day on the Hill was a valuable opportunity because it put things into perspective and provided me with a vision in terms of what I want to do after graduation,” Mashori says. “We met inspiring individuals who were in similar positions to our own prior to working in their respective specialized fields. It made an impression on me because it inspired me to continue working to achieve the goal of unilateral nuclear disarmament.”
Through her fellowship, Mashori has researched the platforms of congressional candidates as the organization identifies and educates politicians about the importance of committing to a No First Use policy. Using social media and community outreach, Mashori is assembling signatures in the effort to ratify the “No First Use Act.” This bill prohibits the President from conducting a nuclear strike against an enemy that did not first launch a nuclear strike against the United States or a U.S. ally, unless Congress expressly authorizes such a strike.
Mashori will also write several blog posts for Beyond the Bomb over the course of the summer. Her first post, which will be published on the website soon, focuses on the importance of developing an international social justice and empowerment movement for denuclearization. In the piece, she discusses how movements such as #MeToo and Black Lives Matter have sustained public attention and support through social media, marches and individual testimonies.
Last summer, Mashori interned at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she says she became more informed about foreign policy and the consequences of nuclear proliferation on international diplomacy and foreign affairs. “I learned the importance of maintaining alternative perspectives when approaching complex issues,” she says.
On campus, Mashori is a residential assistant. She works in both the Hobart and William Smith Deans’ Offices and is an O’Laughlin Ambassador for the Office of Admissions. She is a Civic Leader in the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. She is also the co-treasurer for the South Asian Student Association and an active participant at William Smith Congress meetings.