Thursday, April 18, 2013

Leadership lived: Student finds perfect fit at UIS


Samia Ahmad, a junior political science and criminal justice major at the University of Illinois Springfield, had a good feeling when she visited campus in high school.

“It just felt right,” said Ahmad.

Since her freshmen year, she’s taken on a variety of leadership roles on campus. Currently she’s a Student Government Association (SGA) Senator-at-Large, film coordinator for the Student Activities Committee, and works as a Student Ambassador giving campus tours.

“UIS has taught me a lot about leadership,” she said. “It has taught me how to become vocal on my committees I serve and as a student in class. It’s taught me how to grow and just become a little more involved on campus.”

In March, she traveled to Washington, D.C. with a group of fellow campus leaders. There she met with lawmakers, toured the White House, and advocated for UIS.

“We got to lobby on the hill, which was great,” said Ahmad. “We got to meet Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, Congressman Peter Roskam, and just other Illinois congressmen and women who serve the state.”

Ahmad loves being an SGA member and serving on the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s Student Advisory committee because she can make a difference.

“We’re the voice of students on campus, so every person on student government is either a senator or a board position,” said Ahmad.

She also has a passion for helping veterans, which led her to start a “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” campaign on campus. Student volunteers tied yellow ribbons on almost 400 trees on campus in November.

“We ended up speaking to some faculty on campus and a lot of them were on board with us doing this, so we ended up putting yellow ribbons on all of the trees on the outer ring of the university,” she said.

Following graduation, Ahmad would like to work for the federal government and is eyeing a job in Homeland Security.

“The leadership skills I’ve learned here at UIS are very helpful for my future,” said Ahmad. “It makes me marketable for employers and other things I want to look into.”

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