KOKOMO, Ind. — Maria Ahmad discovered her leadership ability, and a passion for multiculturalism, as a college student.
She now wants to help Indiana University Kokomo students find their potential, as the new coordinator of student life and campus diversity.
Ahmad, 23, said she was not involved in high school activities at all, but found her place while she was an undergraduate at Ohio State University.
"I really changed, and learned my potential, and saw what I could do, from being involved on campus," she said. "I want to help IU Kokomo students have that experience. This is a perfect job for me, because I am passionate about diversity."
Sarah Sarber, dean of students, said Ahmad brings "tremendous knowledge and experience" in student activities, leadership development, and diversity programs to the campus.
"We are very fortunate to have Maria joining us at IU Kokomo," she said. "She understands the importance of getting students engaged on campus, and in helping them have a better understanding of the diverse world in which we live."
Ahmad's interest in diversity stems from her childhood in Mansfield, Ohio. Her parents emigrated from India before she was born, and she remembers noticing how she was different from other children at her school. As a college student, though, she grew to embrace how all people have their differences and similarities.
"Everyone has a different story, and we can learn from one another," Ahmad said. "College is the perfect place to have those conversations, and to ask questions and learn from each other."
Ahmad looks forward to working with the IU Kokomo student organizations, and especially would like to grow the multicultural club.
As coordinator of student life and campus diversity, Ahmad is responsible for programming and diversity initiatives, in addition to advising the Student Union Board, Student Athletic and Wellness Board, and the multicultural student organization. She also will work with the admissions and advising offices to recruit and retain students from special populations.
She recently completed a master's degree in adult and higher education, with an emphasis in student affairs, at Northern Illinois University. She also was a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development, and advised the campus activities board.
Ahmad earned a bachelor's degree in speech and hearing sciences from Ohio State University, where she was involved in student government and the Muslim Student Association. She is currently vice president of the National Muslim Student Association.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.