Ikram Koliso

Ikram Koliso, a Social Work and Public Health double-major, is a very well-known member of St. Kate’s graduating class of 2017. She has been an active member the St. Kate’s community all of her four years here and just won the Mary E. McCahill award, the University’s highest award. Because graduation is coming up in a few short weeks, The Wheel is asking graduating students, such as Ikram, about their St. Kate’s journey and what the future holds for them.

Q: What have been some of the highlights of your time at St. Kate’s? Include favorite events and social aspects of university

Ikram: The things I enjoyed the most were the relationships I’ve gained with those who’ve I’ve mentored through being a peer mentor, and other opportunities. These relationships will continue after I leave here. Anything with MIPS. Graduates of Color Dinner committee. Being able to be apart of that planning process I love that.

Q: What’s a memory you’ve made at St. Kate’s that you will carry with you forever?

Ikram: I would say the relationships I’ve gained with staff and faculty (ex, academic advising office as peer advisor) like family; staff and faculty here are so amazing and care about us as a whole, care about our lives beyond classes. I wouldn’t have done most of the things I’ve done without the encouragement of the staff and faculty here.

Q: What are some noteworthy accomplishments you’ve had during your time at St. Kate’s, academic or beyond the classroom?

Ikram: The most recent thing for me was my honors presentation. I really wanted to bring the stories of the women I come from to life. I wanted to let people know the challenges we face and the successes we have. Being able to present that academically was one of my noteworthy accomplishments.

Q: What opportunities that St. Kate’s provides have you taken advantage of?

Ikram: Club leaderships, serving as president of MSA has been an incredible opportunity. AMP [The Assistantship Mentoring Program] was another opportunity as project collaborator working on emerging scholars program as study advocate for first years in living learning communities. I was able to guide first years and mentor them through the transition to college. In AMP program for 3 academic years, I was the first study advocate and helped start the program from scratch. I’m glad I took on the challenge.

Q: Are there any people you want to cite as having great influence on you during your St. Kate’s journey? 

Ikram: There’s too many! I would say staff of the MIPS office for sure, staff of the academic advising office are like my family, and the Center for Women staff.

Q:What are your post-graduation plans?

Ikram: Over the summer I hope to take the time to visit my immediate family in Ethiopia and rekindling that relationship. I just took on the opportunity to be a campaign organizer for one of the mayoral races in St. Paul. I think I’m going to gain a lot of skills to help build my resume. I’m interested in both micro and macro work in regards to my Social Work major. Public health is more general public policy. I hope to be able to incorporate both of those in the career I go into. I want to be able to tap into both and use my direct service passion to influence policy work.

Q: What would you tell your first-year self if you were able?

Ikram: I would encourage myself to make more connections with my professors. Taken more advantage with better connecting with professors.

Q: What advice do you have for current and future St. Kate’s students?

Ikram: I would say to identify a couple of staff and faculty that you’re going to build a relationship with. Ask people to mentor you. That opened up a path for me. Don’t be afraid to try new things!

Congrats on your graduation, Ikram! The St. Kate’s community will miss you greatly, but we know you’re off to do amazing things.