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Alumni National Awards



Ajmel-and-JillJill E. Rauh, Comm ’02, and Ajmel A. Quereshi, Arts ’03
Takoma Park, Md.

Jill, a devout Catholic, and Ajmel, a Muslim, met through a student group devoted to justice issues. They soon discovered their similarities -- including a shared commitment to advancing social justice, civil rights and a more equitable society -- greatly outweighed their differences.

Jill chose Marquette for its Jesuit values and majored in theology and communication. Ajmel is from a family with deep ties to the university. His father, Dr. Mohammed Quereshi, who emigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan in 1953 and later helped to establish the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, taught statistics in Marquette’s Department of Psychology from 1964 to 2003. Ajmel and five of his siblings all hold Marquette degrees.

Though their post-Marquette paths didn’t always run parallel as they pursued service missions, vocational opportunities and advanced degrees (Jill’s in international affairs and theology; Ajmel’s in law), the couple married in 2008 and eventually settled in Takoma Park, Maryland. Each day, they head to jobs that, to them, feel more like callings.

Jill has devoted her energy and career to social justice. Her first year out of college, she served an impoverished community in Ecuador as part of a Catholic service organization. She is now the director of education and outreach for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development.

“I love my work,” she says, “because it allows me to contribute to something I care deeply about: helping Catholics live out their baptismal call to be people on mission, encountering God and neighbor, and working together to create the conditions where every person can thrive and his or her dignity can be respected.” Outside of work, Jill also leads the children’s liturgy at St. Camillus Multicultural Parish and serves on the board of Pastoral Migratoria, a national initiative for immigrant-led parish social ministry.

Ajmel experienced Milwaukee’s challenges with segregation and economic disparity growing up on the city’s Near West Side and attending the city’s public schools. This cemented his commitment to “working as hard as I can to destroy structures that perpetuate discrimination in our society,” which he has done for nearly two decades as a public interest attorney. Serving as senior counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Ajmel’s work ranges from fighting for fair housing policies to combating discriminatory deportation policies. He also is a professor and director of the Civil Rights Clinic at Howard University School of Law, a board member of the ACLU of Maryland and on the board of the nonprofit FAIR Girls, which cares for human trafficking survivors.

For Jill and Ajmel, advancing justice by tackling systematic inequity -- and inspiring others to do the same -- is a way of life. “We must move beyond just encouraging service,” Ajmel says, “to demanding acts of justice.”

Fun fact:

Jill and Ajmel’s top choice for a dinner companion is their young son, Jamal. For Ajmel, however, Jamal tied for first with his late father, Dr. Mohammed Quereshi, with whom he lunched every Friday during his freshman year at Marquette.

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