About Layli

Most of my first eighteen years were spent near Madison, Wisconsin, save for a brief interlude in Michigan. My twin passions as I grew up were painting and writing, and I was fortunate that my parents and teachers supported these talents. Rather than sharing photos of my awkward adolescence, I’ll leave the reader to imagine me in my teens, shoulders permanently slouching forward thanks to my shyness!

For my undergraduate education, I attended Mount Holyoke College, which felt like home from the time I first stepped foot there. Its students come from all over the world to its idyllic campus in Massachusetts, and though they are highly diverse, they share a commitment to this community of women and to bettering society. Among my formative experiences there were my years working at the writing center and several months living in Santiago, Chile, at an internship the college arranged. And of course, there were the friendships that helped me grow from teen to young adult.

Young women dressed in white carry laurel chains in a parade.
My friends and I march in Mount Holyoke’s annual Laurel Parade prior to our commencement ceremony.

In 2013, I graduated and headed to the Bahá’í World Centre (BWC) in Haifa, Israel, where I had been invited to serve in its archives office for several years. Rivaling the beauty of the BWC’s gardens cascading down Mount Carmel is the loveliness of the staff, a cross-section of humanity dedicated to building a better world. Most of my coworkers were originally from Iran; in fact, one of them taught a Persian language class that I joined.

A young woman poses in front of a neoclassical building with a colonnade.
Behind me is the stately International Bahá’í Archives Building, which is located across the path from my office.

In that Persian class, I got to know a project manager from Moldova, Sergey Miron. He had a much better knack for language than I did—he was already trilingual in Russian, Romanian, and English—but I didn’t hold that against him! Study dates progressed to actual dates. In 2014, we traveled to the United States for our wedding, which we held at the gorgeous Bahá’í House of Worship for North America.

A couple exchanges rings at their wedding.
After our marriage ceremony, Sergey and I exchange wedding bands in the gardens of the House of Worship.

My years at Mount Holyoke’s writing center had piqued my desire for a career in higher education where I could empower students as writers. So, in 2015, I headed back to school, this time entering a graduate program focused on rhetoric and composition at Penn State University. Sergey joined me in central Pennsylvania on Thanksgiving Day that year after receiving his visa following an excruciating delay. My favorite part of grad school was the opportunity to research and publish on the talks and writings of several bright, outspoken women. Diving into the lives of Táhirih, Laura Barney, and Martha Root brought me joy through the grueling process of completing my PhD, which I earned in 2020.

A young woman sits on a bench. She wears academic robes.
In my doctoral regalia on Penn State’s beautiful campus in State College. Photo credit: Sergey Miron

My job search ultimately brought me back to working for a writing center, this time as an administrator at Auburn University, which I joined in 2021. (Relocating to Alabama in the midst of the pandemic and on a tight timeframe was a feat only made possible through Sergey’s excellent project management skills!) The position allows me to combine practical work—collaborating with the University Writing team to run our large writing center, which employs more than fifty students, and other programs—with the research and learning that nourish my intellect.

The three couples of my family reunite for a visit in Alabama: my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, and the Mirons.

Beyond the job, I continue to work on my personal writing projects. Much of my journalistic writing revolves around the Bahá’í community, with the posts I’ve written for Baha’i Blog focused on the religion’s history and my articles for The American Bahá’í magazine concentrating on current community initiatives. Besides freelancing for publications, I also undertake occasional self-sponsored projects, such as the intergenerational recipe blog you can find on this site. I hope to eventually embark on a larger project where I can reignite my artistic relationship with writing, building beautiful word-worlds for my reader, though the purpose and scope are TBD!

Thank you for reading about me. I invite you to peruse the writing on the other pages of this website, as well as to get in touch.