International Political Economy
French, Political Science
After transferring from a two-year college, Maham Ali has achieved great success at Carthage in what she describes as a perfect match between academic achievement and personal development. “When I transferred from my two-year college to Carthage, I knew I had committed to an institution that would empower my educational choices and fuel my curiosity to learn and grow.”
With help from Carthage’s small class sizes and invested faculty members, Maham has been able to form lasting connections with professors, giving her access to great opportunities and experience in her field. Working as a program assistant with Dr. Michele Hancock, Maham attended workshops and gained valuable insight learning from Dr. Hancock’s decisions and operations as the Director of Equity and Inclusion.
Outside of the classroom, Maham stays involved on campus through her position as founder and president of the 1G (first generation) Organization. As a first generation student herself, Maham started the group to aid other students with similar situations in their first-year of school “through community building activities, mentorships, volunteer opportunities, and much more.” Maham has also served on the Career and Professional Development Task Force and is a member of the United Women of Color.
After graduation, Maham hopes to use her experience gained at Carthage and passion for positive change to find a career in public or foreign policy. She credits Carthage’s liberal arts education and emphasis on self-exploration for giving her the tools to grow exponentially. “Carthage offered me the unique opportunity to not only transform my learning, but also to transform myself.”
“I like to say Carthage and I chose each other. Carthage offered me the unique opportunity to not only transform my learning, but also to transform myself.”
“When I graduate from Carthage, I would like to work in either public or foreign policy. I am committed to turning my passion of doing good for others into proven social impact, whether that is by working with local governments or developing programs overseas.”
How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?
“Dr. Jennifer Madden has a wealth of experience in strategic planning, program management, and research across nonprofit, private, and government sectors. These are all areas that I have interests in related to the public policy sector. She encouraged me to diversify my areas of interest and focus on gaining skills that would help me in any discipline. The best piece of advice she offered me was to fully explore everything that I was interested in and tailor my internships and job shadows to my needs.”
“Taking Dr. Karen Walters’ course in interpersonal dynamics changed the perception I had of myself. I was given the chance to focus on my needs as an individual and develop (with a lot of practice and patience) a mindset to grow in my learning and life. Without her or her class, I would have missed a very important step in my personal growth.”
“Thus far, my favorite class is Applied Statistics (ECN/BUS 2340). Never in a million years would I have thought that I would say I enjoyed a statistics class, but I did! I would not have appreciated the marriage between research and statistical analysis if I had not taken this class. In addition, I discovered my passion for research through this class.”
“I am the president and fouonder of the 1G (first generation) Organization and charged with creating awareness of the experience of first-generation college students through events and outreach. The mission of 1G is to develop a sense of community and camaraderie between first generation students navigating through higher education. It is a student-led organization dedicated to helping not only students who will be among the first in their family to get a bachelor’s degree, but also students who are undocumented/DACA/low income or who identify with an underrepresented experience on campus. The goal is to help students excel in their first year of college, and beyond, through community building activities, mentorships, volunteer opportunities, and much more.”
“I am also a member of the United Women of Color. United Women of Color provides leadership opportunities, hosts activities to enrich its members socially and academically, strengthens the image of minority women in the Carthage community, and works to build respect and tolerance between all students.”
“Interpreting Written Texts in French (FRN 3110) really was a culmination and of everything I had learned in my previous french classes. The challenge was the literary analysis of the texts and translation of those ideas through presentations, essays, readings, and productions in french. Although challenging, the class solidified my proficiency in french as an academic.”
Internships or on-campus employment
“I have had multiple internships since high school. All of my internships exposed me to a potential field or industry of interest. I gained a lot of valuable job readiness skills that carry over in my everyday work. This summer, I worked for the Economic Awareness Council which is a nonprofit in Chicago. I was able to coach and present to youth around the city on the importance of having a bank account, setting up a savings account, building credit, and managing their money. As an organization with the help of banks and local partners, we were able to get more than 10,000 youth banked. Through the internship, I was able to make connections at the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), Office of the City Treasurer, investment groups, and start-ups.”
Opportunities at Carthage
“One of the most significant opportunities I have had at Carthage was being able to work with Dr. Michele Hancock as a program assistant. I was able to learn a lot from her about inclusive and equitable practices in the classroom and workplace as the Director of Equity and Inclusion. In addition, I was able to join many workshops related to improving the experience of underrepresented students on campus. I participated in the Celebration of Scholars and was able to present my research and I got a lot of great feedback. I served on the Career and Professional Development Task Force which served to maximize every student’s experience at Carthage to ensure they are successful in their life after graduation.”
“I received the full-tuition transfer student scholarship. As a first-generation college student, I am the first in my family who will graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree. Without this scholarship, I would not have been able to afford Carthage or any university. This scholarship has changed the trajectory of my life and because of it, I have made it my mission to maximize every opportunity that comes my way. I am so deeply grateful and empowered to make the most of my learning.”
Favorite moments and memories at Carthage
“Selfishly, one of my favorite moments is when 1G hosted our first event. Everyone in the room was so moved by the stories each member shared. At the end, we were able to create this atmosphere that welcomed people to value the art of storytelling by showcasing the experience of individuals.”
“Another one of my favorite memories was travelling with the Career and Professional Development task force to New York to visit schools who had successful career programs. We also had the special honor of eating an incredible meal hosted by the mother of Thomas Kline, Carthage’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement.”
Favorite spot on campus
“It depends, but I would have to say Dr. Michele Hancock’s office is wonderful. It feels like home and I get a lot of work done there! If I’m not in her office, my favorite place to be is in the library.”
Biggest surprise so far
“The biggest surprise was running into Carthage’s president in the Starbucks line and having a great conversation. At so many other institutions, it seems like most people don’t even know who the president is or what he or she looks like. It is amazing to see President Swallow and his wife be so involved on the campus.”
What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?
“8-year-old me would ask: “Maham, do you still have time to become an Olympic volleyball player and a pediatrician?” While it seemed like I had pretty big goals for myself when I was 8, I feel like 8-year-old me would be even more impressed with the goals I have for myself currently. 8-year-old me would fiercely remind myself that I am continuing to make my place in the world.”
Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?
“Start the career conversations early. IPE is strongly interdisciplinary, that means taking the time to network with your professors to talk about studies that you are interested in. This will help students greatly when deciding what classes to take as electives and focusing on what is important to you! Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.”
“I like to say Carthage and I chose each other. Carthage offered me the unique opportunity to not only transform my learning, but also to transform myself. When I transferred from my two-year college to Carthage, I knew I had committed to an institution that would empower my educational choices and fuel my curiosity to learn and grow.”