Politics wasn’t a career field that Ahmitara Alwal envisioned her skills to be used. 

She was never a fan due to the nature of politics being “messy.” Instead, she imagined using her voice and skills to lead and advocate for others in a different way. 

But the Winona State University student felt differently after seeing another side of politics.  

During her sophomore year, Alwal took a course named Writing in Communities, and one day they were discussing how politicians use promises to win votes. Alwal found herself very passionate about the topic and was motivated to speak her thoughts on how the two political parties maneuver in those situations.

By the end of class, her professor was so impressed with her demeanor and the way she portrayed the topic passionately from her point of view that he highly recommended her to pursue politics.  

The comment stayed with Alwal.  

Not long after, she declared Political Science as her major and before she knew it, she was actually stepping into it. 

In Oct. 2018, an opportunity to speak with the Minnesota Board of Trustees fell in her lap after her mentor, Dr. Jonathan Locust, the Vice President for Equity and Inclusive Excellence, asked Alwal to talk about her experience at WSU. Not only was it a first look into the world of politics, but also it was a chance to build connections that would later impact her Warrior journey.  

A year later, Alwal had a chance to speak again, but this time with the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Inter Faculty Organization. The two groups were moved by her story and later became entwined in it. 

With encouragement from the WSU community and with connections made with the Minnesota State Board of Trustees, Alwal applied for a leadership position on the board.

To her surprise, she got it.  

On Dec. 11, 2019, Alwal was appointed as a four-year Trustee to the board, where she represented the four-year colleges in the Minnesota State System, sat in meetings, and listened to the concerns and issues that colleges, universities, and student organizations expressed. Despite being a student, Alwal voted on issues alongside her colleagues on the board. 

 

When I came in as a board member, they told me that you’re not a student Trustee, you’re a Trustee just like the rest of us. My vote mattered just as much as the next person’s.

 

Alwal is determined to take the knowledge, experience, and passion for being an advocate for her peers into the rest of her career.  

Right now, she’s doing just that at Mayo Clinic’s School of Continuous Professional Development as the Education Administration Coordinator, where she’s creating courses, managing courses, and preparing presenters to speak at those courses. 

In the future, she sees herself continuing to use her voice by working in campaigning and politics in a way that serves others. Her ultimate career goal is to work with government intel.  

As Alwal’s time at WSU comes to an end, she’s thankful for following her curiosity:  

 

On the WSU campus, there’s a ton of opportunities every day. Be curious about your environment and anything you’re passionate about on campus!

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Roberta Kennedy

Roberta is a Public Relations Major with an Advertising Minor. She is from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota and her interests include listening to music, hanging out with friends and writing.

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