Jaala hails from Georgia and is a rising junior at Columbia University studying Economics and Ethnic and Racial Studies. She is a Bill and Melinda Gates Scholar, a Ron Brown Captain, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Laidlaw Scholar, and a Columbia University Van Am Prize recipient among other distinctions. She currently serves as the president of the Columbia Chapter of Shaping Her Earth and serves its national organization in content creation for young women of color.
Jaala also is a student organizer, who has worked with students across the nation to raise more than $130,000 for organizations that support BLM protestors and their communities, while working to get broader institutional support for Black college students. She was recognized by Teen Vogue for her work during the BLM movement and continues to consult and be in community with young organizers. She hopes to pursue a career in academia as a scholar of economics and is interested in topics about poverty, race, gender, and crime within the field.