Citation for Sana Amanat ’04
Sana Amanat. Writer. Creator. Trailblazer. Feminist. You are a Barnard marvel and the fearless voice of a new and bold generation.
We see where you are today and wonder: How did the daughter of Pakistani immigrants find her way growing up in suburban, mostly white, Montville, New Jersey? Societal ideals spun around in your head, and you struggled to fit in.
But at Barnard, where you studied political science, you found a wide net of support in a community made up of radically different views and experiences. Your eyes were opened to the issues of a much broader universe.
Storytelling became your thing, with first jobs in magazine publishing and with an indie comic book company. Then came Marvel Comics, just five years after your Barnard graduation. In you, Marvel executives recognized a unique and fresh perspective, one that would soon reshape the industry. And today, as Vice President of Content & Character Development, you have honed your focus on women and girls and your commitment to inclusion.
Here is your secret: When you can’t identify yourself in the existing narrative, just go out and write your own. In 2014, you co-created “Ms. Marvel,” the first series to feature a Muslim-American superhero: Kamala Khan, a young teenage girl who broke ground, bridged cultures, and became a worldwide sensation — a girl you seem to know well.
And you continue to push the bounds. You are an executive producer on Marvel Rising, featuring the next generation of superhuman characters, and you have further expanded Marvel’s range by launching the Women of Marvel platform for a new wave of fans.
When Kamala Khan said, “Good is not a thing you are. It’s a thing you do,” she must have known something about the Class of 2019. Sana Amanat, we will not soon forget your example — that the misfit often prevails, that finding yourself reflected on the page or on the screen is a powerful thing, and that there is the seed of a superhero in us all.
On behalf of my classmates, I am honored to award you the 2019 Barnard Medal of Distinction, with fierce pride in our College and hope for a more colorful, more animated, and more enlightened world.