Awale Osman, Augsburg College

Awale OsmanAwale Osman is a senior at Augsburg College majoring in communications and has demonstrated civic leadership through scholarship, internships, and volunteer efforts. Awale immigrated from a Kenyan refugee camp when he was 12, where his family fled during Somalia’s civil war. 
Awale transferred to Augsburg from North Hennepin Community College where he was recruited to lead the Black Male Leadership Movement, an initiative developed in response to poor retention and persistence rates among black male students. At Augsburg, Awale became a McNair Scholar, through which he conducted an empirical study that investigated the institutionalization of Women’s Studies programs at community colleges. This work deepened his passion and interest in the intersectionality of race, class and gender through the experiences of women. 
Currently Awale is the community outreach intern for the Minnesota Urban Debate League where he has developed Somali Debates for young people in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood – the first of its kind in the country. Awale is clear about his career goals. He aspires to teach and conduct research, work with nonprofits and government agencies on issues concerning college degree attainment and closing the achievement gap. One day he will be a community college president.
-Paul Pribbenow, President

I participate in the Minnesota Urban Debate League (MNUDL)—a local nonprofit that trains middle and high school students. MNUDL’s mission “…is to empower students through competitive academic debate to become engaged learners, critical thinkers, and active citizens who are effective advocates for themselves and their communities.” Not only do I work to enhance students’ debate skills as a judge, but I also organize MNUDL’s Somali Debate Pilot and the Spanish Debate Tournament. At the postsecondary level, I am an active participant of Augsburg’s Policy Debate Team. This experience has fostered my research, advocacy, critical thinking and political analysis skills. I am involved in these programs because I want to help underserved students know that they have a voice, and I want to show them how to find it. I also have to ensure I develop my voice as well, so I can advocate for the students I serve. In the future, I aspire to teach and conduct research at a university, work with nonprofits and government agencies on issues concerning college degree attainment and closing the achievement gap. I hope to contribute to a feature of human existence that has empowered me to better serve my several communities: education.  
-Awale Osman