Monday, November 20, 2017

Leadership lived: Psychology major helps fellow students succeed in the classroom


University of Illinois Springfield psychology major Patricia Mubirigi is using her personal experience to help fellow students make better decisions when choosing classes.

Mubirigi started taking classes in nursing at a community college, but wasn’t finding the coursework rewarding. An academic adviser suggested she try psychology classes, which she loved. Mubirigi transferred to UIS and now wants to become a college academic adviser.

“I definitely see this as my future career,” she said. “With counseling and advising, that kind of goes hand-in-hand, having that background and being like, I know how you feel. I was in that same situation. I can help you.”

At UIS, Mubirigi is a peer adviser and intern for the Office of Advising Services, Information, and Support (OASIS). In that role, she holds peer advising workshops where she helps students pick the right classes for them and makes sure they’re on track towards graduation.

Mubirigi is also a member of the University Bible Fellowship and a peer educator for InQueery, where she speaks to students about combating homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism through innovative activities and workshops.

“UIS has been such a blessing to me with the mentorship program, me getting mentorship from other faculty and staff here at UIS, with me mentoring others, my peers,” she said. “That is a great thing to have on your resume when employers look for that.”

Mubirigi, who grew up in Rockford, Illinois, but is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, says she’s learned many lessons about leadership by being involved at UIS.

“You have to be your own leader, kind of take a hand in it,” she said. “Without you taking a hand in in, you can’t be a leader. Without you stepping out and being involved in something that’s uncomfortable or being in a group. You have to take ownership of that.”

Mubirigi says she’s glad she chose to transfer to UIS and encourages other students to attend the school. She says she enjoys the right-sized supportive community at UIS.

“It’s a small community, teachers appreciate who you are and get to know you. Not only do they get to know you, they know your name, they know your face, they know this is what this person wants to be,” she said. “UIS is a great place for growing in leadership.”