Meet Our Inaugural ClassAliya Merali

Aliya graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in physics and a minor in Arabic. During her time as an undergraduate, she performed plasma physics research with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), a Department of Energy National Laboratory, worked on the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search at the University of Florida, and participated in collaborations with NASA, resulting in four microgravity flights aboard the ‘Weightless Wonder’. After receiving her degree, she joined PPPL full-time for two years, where she worked in Science Education. Aliya’s passion for efficiency and her desire to impact the quality of life in cities led her to join CUSP’s inaugural class in 2013.

During her time at CUSP, Aliya worked to enhance her technical skills through coursework and apply these skills through research and internships. During the Fall semester, Aliya worked with the Urban Observatory to explore seasonal patterns of crime in Manhattan. This work sparked her interest in crime analytics, and led to an internship at the NYPD’s Office of Analytics. Her final project focused on creating a predictive model for the allocation of police resources.

After graduating as class Valedictorian, Aliya joined the Coalition for Queens as the Education Program Manager.