Shamsa Ahmed, a second year student at Augsburg University, is a leader actively working on promoting political voice and civic agency for women, young people, and those with marginalized identities. In addition to multiple student leadership roles, including representing her fellow students for the last two years as a member of the Augsburg student government, Shamsa founded and leads a campus chapter of Women for Political Change, a group focused on creating spaces for women and gender non-conforming individuals to explore identity and politics and to engage in the political process to make social change. Under Shamsa's leadership, WFPC has brought to campus local candidates for public office, hosted public forums to educate peers on sexual assault policies and Title IX, brought forward the visibility of the campus Women's Center as a resource for students, and is working on issues of university policy and resources for women and gender non-conforming students. Shamsa also works with young people to claim civic leadership and voice through her work with Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul, where she creates opportunities for young people to build civic skills and agency by engaging in interfaith dialogue, civic bridge building, and public service.
One of my biggest goals is to increase education for young girls. I come from a region where education for girls is limited, which is why I make education for girls a priority in almost everything I do. I make sure that girls at my local mosque are able to see themselves through me and that they too can have aspirations and know that the world is unlimited for them. I make it a priority to bring elected officials to campus to make sure that girls are at the decision-making table as well. To pay it forward means to enable your community and that they are right beside you and not behind.