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Amna Haider

Hi, Hawkeyes! Our final profile of former President’s Leadership Class students is of Amna Haider, a student leader who is passionate about multicultural issues and helping to make the University of Iowa a more diverse and inclusive campus.

The deadline for the PLC application has been extended until next Friday, March 20th! Please consider applying to this incredible program!

Photography provided by Alyson Kuennen (@arkuennen).

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska

Year in school: Second year

Major: Philosophy and International Relations major, with a Human Rights certificate.

What organizations are you involved with on campus?

One of my personal missions here at the University of Iowa is to uplift the voices of those who may feel unheard. To achieve this goal, I have joined the University of Iowa Student Government, the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, Iowa Students for Refugees, and the Dean of Students Advisory Committee. My roles in these organizations each focus on empowering individuals to connect with those in power in an effort to make lasting change. I am also involved in Walk It out, the multicultural fashion show at Iowa, and I am a Resident Assistant at Catlett Residence Hall. Outside of campus, I serve as an intern for the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council.

How did you first hear about these organizations? What drew you to them?

I found out about most of these organizations from the student involvement fair at the beginning of my freshman year! Beyond that, though, I would recommend keeping a lookout for any opportunities across campus in newsletters, emails, Cambus advertisements, or even the table tents across campus!

I was drawn to the organizations I am involved in because they are meant to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion- especially Walk It out. I could celebrate all identities of students who attend the University of Iowa. I am also very passionate about policy issues, and how I can serve a diverse and multicultural community in a place that doesn’t represent them. Through this international and multicultural effort, I want to connect the Hawkeye community to the rest of the world- and these organizations allow me to do just that!

As a member of the President’s Leadership Class of 2019, could you please describe the impact the course had on you and how it challenged you to think about what it means to be a leader?

The President’s Leadership Class definitely gave me a greater sense of appreciation for the shared governance system here at the University of Iowa! I learned how professional staff and administrators approach issues students might be facing, and how they strive to empower students to develop their own styles of leadership. Before I took the class, I thought leadership was a one-person job that was automatically given to the most extroverted person. However, I learned that leadership can only work well when the entire team comes together to contribute to a common goal; it is a system of relationships, not an individual position. When you are put in charge, your primary goal should be to empower others through listening to their needs and providing services to support them.

How have you applied what you learned in the PLC to the organizations you are involved with today?

Before I entered the President’s Leadership Class, I was unsure of how to efficiently exchange ideas between groups of like-minded people who might have small disagreements. Thanks to what I learned about cooperation and coordination, I am now able to do that, and I can work with my organizations to connect more people with common goals across our community. I have become more adept at delegating tasks and helping to execute them, as well as making sure that everyone can have their voice heard!

What should students know before applying to the PLC? What advice would you have to students about what they should expect?

My advice would be to make sure your voice is heard, especially if you have a marginalized identity- do not hesitate to apply to this class, and do not be afraid to speak up! We need people like you communicating with university administrators and learning leadership theory in order to grow as a student leader on campus. The President’s Leadership Class can definitely strive to improve on the diversity of its applicants. I want you to celebrate your identities and share the experiences that make you who you are as you apply!

You should also come into the class ready to engage with the material and have a vision of what you think the university should look like in terms of anything you are passionate about. Come in with that vision and be prepared to make it a reality.

How has being a member of the President’s Leadership Class or other organizations on campus shaped your goals for the future?

When I came into the University of Iowa, I hadn’t thought of myself as a leader in terms of sharing my voice. I want to use these organizations to effectively learn how to use my voice and speak for the issues I care about, such as the status of refugees, international affairs, and equity issues. My experiences have strengthened my cultural competency, my public speaking skills, and my ability to productively communicate with others. I am comfortable now in empowering those around me, and I strive to continue growing for the future.

What has your most proud or memorable moment as a student leader at the University of Iowa?

Participating in the big Walk It Out multicultural fashion show last year was my favorite moment! I got to see so many people come together and celebrate their identities. It was so important to me because I love learning about and celebrating other cultures, and everyone had a chance to express and celebrate themselves in a beautiful way!