Tiffany Puett, Executive Director

Tiffany Puett is a scholar of American religions, a community educator, and the founding Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity and Civic Life. She has been writing, developing resources and curriculum, and leading programs on religious and cultural diversity, equity and social justice for 19 years. Her writing has appeared in publications including The Huffington Post, Medium, Religious Studies News, and The Conversation. She’s taught courses on religious diversity, ethics, and research methods at St. Francis College, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Trinity University, and St. Edward’s University. She holds a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Waterloo and a master’s degree in Ethics from Boston University. Her work is inspired by the rich diversity of Texas, the power of storytelling, and her commitment to mutual liberation. She lives in Austin with her husband, two lovely children, and two energetic dogs.

Sadia Tirmizi, Director of Operations

Sadia Tirmizi has over 18 years of nonprofit management experience assisting organizations meet their operational and strategic planning goals. Her MBA, coupled with a social work background, has allowed her to combine her passion for addressing community needs with her expertise in managing the business side of running nonprofits. Sadia has worked with several interfaith organizations focusing on advocacy, dialogue and bridge-building. She is a fellow of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute. Prior to joining IDCL in a formal capacity in 2019, Sadia served as an oral history project volunteer and trained in conducting oral history interviews through the Muslim Voices project.

Rimsha Syed, Program Coordinator

Rimsha (she/hers) is an Austin-based Pakistani Muslim writer, community organizer, artist, and daughter of working-class immigrants. Her words have appeared in publications like the Huffington Post, Truthout, and Wear Your Voice Magazine. Rimsha’s work explores themes of gender, surveillance, colonization, anti-Muslim violence, and Palestinian apartheid. In 2019, she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin where she focused on journalism and women and gender studies. In Urdu, her name means a bouquet of flowers. Rimsha thrives off the tears of patriarchy and samosas.

Van Wagner, Archive Coordinator

Van is a graduate of Yale Divinity School with an MA in Religion, concentrated in History of Christianity. They received their BA in Religion from Trinity University in San Antonio. Van has experience with both ethnographic interviewing and oral history archival work, each with relevance to religion, culture, and historic events. Their research interests include contemporary conservative evangelicalism in the US as well as its intersections with civic religion and conservative political engagement. In their free time, Van enjoys baking, playing tabletop RPGs, and writing fiction.

Aysha Moneer, Archive Coordinator

Aysha recently graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Economics. Her background involves public policy work, including the Texas House of Representatives and The Economic Development & Tourism Office of Texas. In addition to her work at IDCL, she is currently working on reviewing education grants for the Rather Prize and is working on the production of Blackademics TV, a program of Black studies scholars focusing on education empowerment. She is interested in progressive politics, community organizing, and increasing diversity in Texas. In her free time, she loves reading and cooking Pakistani food.

Mehlam Bhuriwala, Oral History Fellow

Mehlam serves as an Oral History Fellow, working on Religions Texas, particularly the Muslim Voices collection, #ThisTexan, outreach, and community engagement. He recently graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies, and previously served as Research Intern to the IDCL’s Muslim Voices Project. In his free time, Mehlam loves to cook, spoil his cats, and practice his Arabic.

Eleonora Anedda, Oral History Fellow

Eleonora is a recent graduate from the Oral History MA at Columbia University, and came to this field from a Gender and Sexuality Studies background. She was born and raised in Sardinia, Italy and earned her BA in Humanities from the Università deli Studi di Cagliari. She is very excited to be working as an oral historian for IDCL and interviewing narrators for the Religions Texas Oral History Project. When she isn’t glued to her computer she enjoys taking care of her twelve orchids, eating tagliatelle, swimming, and going for long walks with her dog.