Asma Mahdi is an experienced environmental conservationist with particular expertise in managing coastal resources, faith-based environmental justice leadership, and communications.
Throughout her career, she has found new ways to turn complex science and ideas into accessible, compelling stories for community advocates, policy leaders, academics and many more. As lead communicator for the UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge, Asma worked with media to highlight research breakthroughs that were accelerating the university’s sustainability goals for L.A. In 2018, her efforts led to the visually data-driven L.A. Times article “What role should the L.A. River play in a future Los Angeles?” The article drew from a UCLA study that presented Los Angeles with a path to independence from imported water. Prior to UCLA, Asma was part of the NOAA Marine Debris Program. She coordinated and engaged in outreach programming that addressed regional debris issues throughout the U.S. In 2016, she co-wrote the Regional Emmy Award-winning special feature “Trash Talk,” an educational series to help students understand ocean pollution, particularly plastics, and its impact.
Asma is also a faith-based environmental justice leader. As the former board director of Green Muslims, a faith-based nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., Asma developed “Our Deen is Green,” an outdoor, youth education program that connected the environmental spirit of Islam with conservation, science and advocacy. She has published articles on faith, climate change and justice in Islamic Horizons, Sojourners, and the American Geophysical Union - Online.
Asma earned her bachelor’s in geography and environmental studies at UCLA and her master’s in environmental science and management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara.