Working with the Black Network team, the Library, the SU Education Team, and academics including Dr Hannah Gibson, Samira set about making her voice, and those of Black students, heard. She worked hard to get more students on board and faced challenges along the way but is proud of what she’s achieved.
“I experienced roadblocks with people who claim to decolonise the curriculum but are unwilling to make lasting changes. It was also challenging to frame because it’s such a broad and complex issue,” she said.
“I’ve learned a lot, but mostly to take credit for my own work. Most people assume that BAME people can do the work without getting any compensation and credit,” she added.
Samira has always wanted to make a difference and says she chose her degree because of a “desire and drive to know, understand and perhaps resolve contemporary global issues.”
She’s changed lives through volunteering too. During her first year, Samira volunteered as an art club leader, working in local primary schools at after-school clubs. In her second year she coordinated and taught science lessons in schools through the Einstein Project.
She says her volunteering experiences have been invaluable: “I learned the value of doing things for other people, giving out my time. And it gave me a lot of transferable skills such as leadership, time and line management, planning, and cultural awareness.”
Samira’s made every minute at Essex count and was also an active member of the Model United Nations which took her all the way to Dubai, for the international conference, where she was awarded the Outstanding Diplomacy Award.
Samira is graduating with a first and has scooped a number of prizes including a 2018-19 Activist Award, a 2020 International Student of the Year Award and Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum Big Essex Awards.
Thanks to a SeNNS Studentship award, Samira is staying at Essex to complete an MSc Conflict Resolution and PhD on conflict in sub-Sahara Africa.