Layla Razek

Real name: 
Class Year: 
2022
Current Position: 
RAY Conservation/Coastal Wetlands and Coral Reefs
Current Organization: 
The Pew Charitable Trusts

Layla Razek was born in West Philadelphia and raised in Montreal, a RAY 2022 Fellow drawn to community building and social justice. Growing up near the Laurentides region of Quebec, she found comfort in familiarity with the world around her: the sound of chickadees, where to find fresh mint, that August was the season for shooting stars. The privilege of feeling at home in nature drove her curiosity for it, and an interest in creative expression led her to complete an Arts & Sciences degree at Marianopolis College. Layla graduated from McGill University (’21) with a B.Sc. in Biology and minor in Political Science. As a Global Health Scholar, she led research on equitable admissions in healthcare. In 2021, she received the Schull Yang International Experience Award to investigate discrimination among Transgender and Travestis in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She presented her work at the AIDS 2022 conference and won the Quebec Research Network Young Investigator Prize. In college she founded the Multi-Ethnic Alliance to advocate for solidarity and learning across ethnic backgrounds. Through the McGill Biology Student Union, she launched an outreach campaign to highlight diverse voices in research. For these initiatives she was inducted into McGill University’s Scarlet Key Society. Her interest in community organizing was developed through the non-profit Apathy Is Boring, where she co-led an art workshop on consent and boundaries. Layla is currently a Program Assistant at the Pew Charitable Trusts supporting the scientific and policy frameworks to protect seagrass, salt marshes, and mangroves. In her free time, she loves listening to live music, collecting colorful posters, and is always on the lookout for local grocery stores.