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Three words to describe me:

Quirky, Innovative, Driven


Hashtag to Describe Myself:



Favorite book and author:

It's so hard to choose, so don't get mad but... "The Last Prophet" by Lesley Hazleton AND "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green


Favorite website: [My go-to place to get the latest Politics updates]


Favorite Movie:



Favorite recording:

"My Brother, My Brother, and ME", a comedy podcast


Favorite source of inspiration:

PEOPLE are my favorite sources of inspiration. Specifically the Founders of KIDOGO [Kenyan Babycare Company]


Favorite line from a movie or book and its title:

“Pehle apni game baaki logon se unchhi karo, fir apni awaaz unchi karna” (English translation: up your game, before upping your voice.) Movie Title: Chak De India


Favorite keepsake or memento:

A picture my sister gave me on my first trip alone [one of the first ever pictures we took together]


Favorite word:



Favorite Snack:

Biscoff Cookie Butter and Breadsticks—the reason why I go on Delta Airlines


Dream Job:

An [unpaid] Executive (CEO, CTO, COO) at a Nonprofit


Dream Trip:

Traveling around the Mediterranean specifically Rome, Greece, North Africa, Turkey


Next Show to Binge Watch:

Friends (for the 6th time)


Place I'm Most Content:

Jamatkhana (Ismaili-Muslim Cultural Center), Home (with family)

City Lights

Armaan Ismail


Image by Sigmund


Dear Future Roommate,


So...Let me just put this out there. I have this nervous twitch that results in my bursting into song randomly. This can range from the Beatles to, well, religious hymns? (Question mark intentional.)


My friends think I am slightly funny— I can usually get at least one pity laugh for my cheesy jokes. But these jokes are my form of communion with everyone, from a classmate to a stranger waiting in line at the grocery store.


I can talk to anyone and maybe even anything. I have once (okay, many times) engaged in deep conversation with elevator cameras. But with real people, aside from esoteric tech stuff, I like to talk about food.  Actually, I’ve had a persistent dream of partnering with my college roommate to start the first Mexican-Indian fusion cuisine food truck. Perhaps this dream is partly spurred by the fact that my Indian mother doesn’t let me experiment in our kitchen (she’s inexplicably terrified that I’ll burn the house down). I have always wanted to roll up my sleeves and just create some sort of culinary venture.


I can just smell roti burritos con chutney and chicken tandoori tacos right now. I’d love to hear your ideas about potential mash-up dishes that would incorporate your favorite cuisines.


Sure, I’m excited for entrepreneurial food adventures, but I also like the simple things: just hanging out, playing board/card games, and having Harry Potter movie marathons.


I am very excited to meet you,

Armaan Ismail


Research and Academic Papers

Berlin Fernsehturm


Growing up, family dinners consisted of nine adults and two children squished elbow-to-elbow around a table intended only for eight. Some nights, our dinner conversations roared with laughter over silly anecdotes about my dad’s childhood or the time when I tried to blow-dry my cousin’s hair and managed to get it hopelessly tangled. Other times, our discussions revolved around serious topics, like the hardships of immigrating to and starting new businesses in an unfamiliar country. These stories not only fostered our family’s close-knit dynamic but also demonstrated how the self-motivation and work ethic of the previous generation created a life of opportunity for me.


As a child of immigrants, religious values played a key role in my upbringing. Friday nights are reserved for attending jamatkhana, a place of prayer for Ismaili Muslims, and to this day, my week feels incomplete without its warm embrace. In addition to creating balance in my life, my religion has provided me with foundational values, such as the lifelong pursuit of knowledge. It cultivated my insatiable craving to explore everything from civic engineering to public policy and from civilizational history to computer science.


The relentless work ethic and curiosity that my family and religion instilled in me inspired me to apply my entrepreneurial spirit to international development. 


From the moment I saw “Abstain from sex” painted beside “Stay happy,” on a mural on the back wall, I knew Mvita was different.

As a mentor and volunteer at Mvita Primary School in Kenya, I learned through conversations with the head teacher that many students came from broken homes, living on less than $2.50 a day. To their parents, working, not learning, filled empty stomachs. As a result, education fell onto the proverbial back burner.


This travesty motivated me to turn a service trip into a self-guided learning experience. At night, I researched unemployment statistics and current events in Kenya. And during the day, I conducted informal interviews with locals, ranging from seniors to small business owners. Slowly, I began to piece together the problem. Colonialism in Kenya slowed down the industrialization process, making agriculture the primary source of income for most Kenyans. When non-governmental organizations entered, they incorrectly allocated funds resulting in “dead aid.” This led to fewer jobs, lower income, and an aversion to education. It became more appealing to replace a graduation diploma with a paycheck.


As an aspiring social entrepreneur, I’m aware of the impact of ignorance on international development. I want to immerse myself in the deep-rooted history of the countries I’m trying to help and create sustainable solutions tailored to their specific needs.

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