Basrai is executive director of Leadership SAISD and has yet to discover who was responsible for nominating her to the list

27-year-old Fatema Basrai has a considerable amount of life experience packed into her years. Basrai originally hails from a modest mountain-top village in Panchgani, India and remained in the bustling city of Mumbai until she was four years old.

Basrai’s parents managed to immigrate to the United States, hoping to provide their daughter with quality opportunities for education, where they settled in Oklahoma, running a motel that they also lived in.

Basrai was always a dedicated learner, even as a child: she recounts stories of how she would join reading programs during the summer because she was “bored” by the holidays and missed going to school.

Basrai followed her parents’ in her perception of the US, assuming that public schools were all good institutions and she and her brother (US-born) would acquire educations that would allow them to compete with other individuals to enter college.

Basrai faced difficulty and challenging issues due to inequality in the pursuit of education and eventually a career

Basrai mentioned that although her public schooling in Texas and Oklahoma did not allow her to take advanced classes or receive higher-level coursework, she thrived and took advantage of leadership opportunities where she could.

Although Basrai faced a difficult route to the attain the upper-level corporate position she has always aspired to – coping with inequalities in the education system as well as leftover prejudice from 9/11 – she managed to get to where she belonged in the end.

Basrai took the anger she felt at the issues she faced due to inequality and went on to join the Leadership SAISD program – which she is now responsible for running.

Basrai’s parents, currently in Mumbai, are delighted are her accomplishments and Basrai herself says she has a lot to be grateful for on Thanksgiving.