For being just 18 years old, Hawi Hussen has experienced a great deal of change. Hussen was born and raised in Ethiopia. In 2010, she arrived in the United States, joining the rest of her family already here.
This last summer, Hussen was chosen for the Bank of America student leader program which recognizes community-minded high school students and helps develop them into future leaders. Hussen interned with the Boys and Girls Club and attended a Washington DC Leadership Summit. Currently, she is a freshman at Oregon State University studying Biology.
Hussen is best friends with Claudia Monroy, another Bank of America student leader. (The Skanner News also profiled Monroy, read that here.) We asked Hussen about her internship, the D.C. conference and her plans for the future.
The Skanner News: Could you describe your work with the Boys and Girls Club?
Hawi Hussen: I mostly worked on the overall data that was submitted to the administration office of Boys and Girls club. For example, some of the things I worked on were making report cards about each club by analyzing attendance, activities, camps, etc.
TSN: What did you ultimately learn from the student leader program?
HH: Through working in a non-profit organization, I have learned the difference organizations such as Boys & Girls club make in different communities. The Regence club is located in a low-income community and most of the kids that go there are from a low-income family. It has many educational and fun activities for the kids.
One of the educational activities that resonated with me was a math class that helps kids improve their math skills. This class was developed through partnership with Rosa Parks Elementary School. Some of the children in the math class were below their grade level. This program helped kids develop their math skills, so they can do well in their classes.
TSN: What did you enjoy about interning with the Boys and Girls Club?
HH: What I enjoyed the most about interning at the Boys & Girls club was getting to interact with people who work at the club. During my time there I was inspired because I noticed the employees were really passionate about what they do. Their work ethic shows how much they care about the children who go to the Boys & Girls Club.
TSN: Why do you think this work is important?
HH: I have always dreamed of working in an organization that helps people not to profit from it but, for the sake of helping people who need it. Working at the Boys’ & Girls’ Club has given me perspectives on community involvement and how I can be a helpful citizen to my community.
While working at the Regence club, I saw many volunteers that helped with activities. Those people were giving their time to give back to their community and make the children’s day bright. Those volunteers were my motivation to give back to my community. As I establish my ground at Oregon State University, I plan on joining clubs and volunteering in the community.
TSN: What did you learn from the Washington D.C. Leadership Summit?
HH: During the Washington, D.C. trip we got to interact with many speakers, authors, politicians, and humanitarians. It was a very inspiring and motivating trip for me. I learned that I can make a difference in my community and beyond. The only way to make a change is by getting involved with things that are happening in our communities.
During one of the events on the trip there were humanitarian organizations and people who spoke about what they do. It was very inspiring for me because I have always dreamed of doing what they spoke about.
TSN: What does the future hold for you?
HH: I am majoring in biology, with an option of being a physician’s assistant. I have always wanted to use my career to help people in need. The internship I had over the summer and the DC trip has increased my motivation to push my dream forward.
Even though I do not know what specific health care career I want to pursue, I know for sure I want to be in the health care. After gaining experience in the medical field, I want to use my career to help people who are economically disadvantaged.