“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”  –Margaret J Wheatley

Rochester is home to a diverse plethora of communities and races. Some of the brightest stars from varied scientific, commercial, and artistic backgrounds have established themselves in our city. Today we are introducing you to the journey of a Winona State University student who instills our faith in people lifting people.

Meet Misk Al Zahidy from Rochester, MN; a Graduate Student of Professional Science Masters (PSM) at WSU who is graduating this year. She has a BS in Health Sciences and is highly interested in research and medicine.

Despite her analytical interest, she is deeply engaged in the Rochester community. Misk is a graduate of Rochester Public Schools, and completed her undergraduate work at University of Minnesota-Rochester. This gives her a holistic view of k-12 students, college students, and young adults, when advocating for community change.

Misk is an intern at Cradle 2 Career (C2C), an organization that has worked closely with WSU faculty to develop the capacity of the university to benefit the community and enhance student learning and scholarship. WSU recognized C2C’s tremendous work in the field and recently awarded it with a 2022 President’s Civic Engagement Community Partner Award.

Excerpts from Misk’s own words give insight into her inspirational journey as a research student diving deep into community contribution.

“While growing up, I never was the extremely outgoing or loud kid. I kept to myself, and even in high school I was not as involved or engaged in school activities as the rest of my peers. When I started college, I knew I wanted to change that and try new things, so I started to participate in new activities. As I began to get more involved, I noticed that these extracurricular activities started to test my comfort zone, and therefore increase my excitement by having something to look forward to, like an event to attend with the Chancellor (I was a Chancellor’s representative). As I entered my third year, I became part of the Rochester Student Association, which is our student government, and was the President of the Pre-Professionals Career club. These activities started to spark my interest, and I started to enjoy them more and more every day as I felt like I was helping others.”

One of Misk’s research projects was with the prestigious Mayo clinic.

“Through these activities, I got to collaborate with Mayo Clinic professionals, professors, staff, and the Rochester community. I felt more immersed and part of my community while being the middle person between all the incoming students and the rest of the community. I mastered the perfect way to help other students adapt, immerse themselves in the community, and how to explore their options while in college.

I continued the same energy when I came to WSU, as I wanted to combine my research interest along with my interest in community engagement. That is when I found C2C. I have been with C2C for almost a year now, working on identifying and opening the 0-3 Healthy Development Network as their next network to open. Currently, I am in the process of doing interviews with parents of children aged 0-3 to help inform our upcoming strategy to increase early childhood screening rates. As for plans for after graduation, I am in the process of studying for the MCAT to apply for medical school this year.”

Misk credits Kelsey Duffy at C2C for her open-minded and flexible approach and Dr. Scott Segal (Director of PSM, WSU) for his continual support.

To support her work, you can click here and participate in her research study

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