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Anddd we’re off to the Windy City: Sami Ali

February 4, 2010

Who’s that Girllll?

Hi y’all! I’m Samiyyah (Sami) Ali. I’m a senior at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. I’m graduating with a degree in Psychology but I tried out several different majors before my advisor told me I had to pick a major for graduation. That’s kind of how I roll in life – I like to try a little bit of everything, to do a lot of my special things, and to never discount the little things.

A little something about me? My resume will tell you that I’m a Psych Major with an International Comparative Studies Minor, I’m in Alpha Omicron Pi, and I’m one of the captains of the Duke Women’s Rugby Team (Yes, Rugby. Yes, they have that in the States. Yes, there are women’s teams.) I also work student (part)-time in the Office of Student Activities and Facilities at Duke, which is where I was really introduced to the field of student affairs. What my resume won’t tell you is that I absolutely love the South (representing Atlanta, Georgia) and country music, I have a slight, non-detrimental obsession with Soy Chai Lattes and Taylor Swift, and I am completely random.

I want to enter the field of higher education/student affairs because I want to encourage and motivate students and help shape the collegiate experience for them, the same way that my mentors/employers/random connections in Student Affairs have for me here at Duke. My experience as a NUFP Fellow has been crucial to my developing interest and knowledge surrounding this career. I am SO PUMPED (thanks, Sodexo!) to be attending NASPA during my Spring Break. It was during last NASPA, when half the office I work in was gone to Seattle, that I first realized that what they did was a “field” and that I could do it too.

I’m also super excited about graduate school. (By the way, if you’re reading this and I applied to your school. You get a special shout out.) Graduate School seems like the perfect way to learn about the history, theories and practices of student affairs and apply them directly to the field all at once. I am able to look back on my past four years and realize how crucial practitioners from the field have been in the my development and the development of my peers, and I can’t wait to join the field!

Until next time…like now…

Attending the NASPA 2010: Live the Legacy, Be the Movement Conference is a spectacular opportunity for me as a fourth year undergraduate student. I feel as though it will complement my experiences as a NUFP fellow on my home institution campus and truly bring together ideas, knowledge and perspectives about the field of student affairs developed in the fellowship program in the past year.

There are many professional development opportunities available at the NASPA conference this year. The well-rounded schedule that I will be adhering to will provide me with an opportunity of growth within the field, as I will be learning and networking with every opportunity that arises. I look forward to attending educational sessions and poster sessions to learn more about certain aspects of the fields that interest me. I also see these sessions being beneficial in gaining resources and information that might support my future change efforts.

I also hope to network with professionals, practitioners and other students (graduate and undergraduate) to broaden my perspective of the field. Specifically, I would like to gain more insight into the field and why people remain in the field from student affairs professionals at institutions other than my own. Building my own network of people in the field will expound upon my previous experiences. I also look forward to the opportunity to engage in shared inquiries, parts of the field I’m particularly interested in, and learning with other NUFP members that share my goals.

The educational sessions I plan on attending will help to clarify and address some of the concerns and important aspects of the field as well as initiate my thoughts on problem-solving in those situations. Specifically, I plan on attending Advancing Cultural Understanding to Achieve Social Justice, which address the “student characteristics, development and learning” and the “culture, diversity environment, and organization development” learning outcomes. This topic is of personal interest to me and my strong commitment to diversity. Another session I will attend is A Study of Alcohol Use in Residence Halls and Greek Chapters, which addresses the “assessment and research practices” and “law, governance, and policy” learning outcomes. This is a concern that I have witnessed at Duke that I’m am interested in investigating further. Lastly, I will attend Ethics and Leadership: Making Choices for Social Justice, which addresses “leadership, administration and management” and “culture, diversity environment, and organization development.” Attending the NASPA 2010 conference is just the beginning of my lifelong learning and education in the Student Affairs/Higher Education field, and I can’t wait until March 5th!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jimmy permalink
    February 27, 2010 3:17 pm

    From one NUFP fellow (now alum) and Sodexo conference scholarship recipient to another, congratulations! Looking forward to meeting you this coming week at UVM and seeing you in Chicago!

    ps. I may too have an obsession with T-swift. =)

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