Zaynab Abdi '20 and Jasmin Yangwaue '21 are well-known for their leadership within the campus and local community. Both students are political science majors at St. Kate’s with Abdi additionally majoring in philosophy and international relations.
On campus, both students have been long-time members of the College for Women Student Senate. This past 2019-20 term, Abdi served as student body president. She led with clear goals to pursue inclusive excellence for all students, optimize student space, and move toward a more sustainable campus. Due to COVID-19, she switched her focus to meet students' needs during the pandemic. Recently, Abdi swore in the new incoming 2020-21 Senate president Jasmin Yangwaue. Much like Abdi, she believes in standing firmly by clear visions and goals. In the upcoming academic year, Yangwaue aims to prioritize including all student voices in University decision-making to work toward making the campus a better place for all students.
These political science Katies have also taken their leadership off campus. Abdi was appointed by the governor to have a chair on the Young Women’s Cabinet. This selected and diverse group of young women identify community-specific issues and provide input to work towards solutions to advance equitable outcomes for all people across Minnesota. Within the mission of the Young Women’s Cabinet, Abdi says she is most passionate about her role in advocating for young female immigrants and refugees. She has appreciated the opportunity to learn more about policymaking statewide and how she can apply this skill to continue working towards effective action pertaining to issues she cares most about.
Yangwaue has demonstrated strong community leadership as well through her engagement in the Capitol Pathways program as a policy intern at Greater Twin Cities United Way, a nonprofit that provides resources and advocates for inclusive policy change in Minnesota. The program’s mission in the past term targeted issues such as affordable housing and educational success for all students. Yangwaue has found this program to be one of the most empowering opportunities she has ever experienced and is looking forward to carrying her glow of confidence into her final year at St. Kate’s.
Now, as Abdi hands off the torch to Yangwaue, she is looking forward to her many post- graduation goals. Abdi plans to attend graduate school and study international development and human rights. Eventually, Abdi hopes to start her very own nonprofit organization, which will support leadership and civic engagement for youth in developing countries. While Yangwaue still has one year left of school, she has big aspirations for the upcoming year and post-graduation. Recently, Yangwaue was selected as the Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow. Abdi served as the last Fellow. Through this year-long program, Yangwaue will get training, networking, and resources to help her work towards progressive social action going forward. After graduation, she aims to pursue law school and continue being a persistent advocate for all people by eventually running for office.
Abdi and Yangwaue, the past and current Student Senate presidents, are well-known as fierce community leaders who value every voice. The Economics and Political Science Department at St. Kates is extremely proud of these students and loves seeing them apply coursework in the real world to work towards real change and social justice. St. Kate’s is looking forward to seeing these students continue to pursue their passion for equity and inclusivity through well-informed policymaking.