Nadwa Ibrahim is one of thousands of college freshman trying to find her own path. But unlike most young women her age, she got a head start.
The once shy middle school girl with little interest in science evolved during her years at after school programs at Science Club for Girls (SCFG). The club helped her come out of her shell and provided a long term group of friends and a solid support system to rely on throughout her middle school and high school career. She’s now extremely involved on campus as at Simmons College.
“I don’t know if I’m a leader,” she laughs. “But in class, I’m the first one to speak up when all the other freshman are shy. Even if it’s leading a program, or game or activity.”
She still remembers the first day she learned about SCFG, when a group presented to her sixth grade class.
“I was like ‘I want to do that!’” she exclaims with a laugh.
It wasn’t long before she and her friends joined SCFG, beginning a 6-year routine of attending after school programs together.
While the organization offers a variety of options for students, Nadwa and her friends chose to get involved with the junior mentoring program. She started in seventh and eight grade, learning about science from older girls, before becoming a peer mentor in high school.
“I liked it because I got to help out kids,” she says. “They would get excited about it each week, so that was exciting for me. It was a fun thing to do.”
One of the fondest memories she has of SCFG was Sister Circle, a Friday meeting which allowed the girls to talk and unwind after their mentoring session.
“There would be one subject we’d discuss, or we’d just talk and chill, and reflect on our week,” she explains. “All the girls liked that aspect of it.”
For many of Nadwa’s friends, the SCFG programs don’t end after high school graduation. Many of her friends have continued mentoring throughout college and remain close. Despite being hard at work during her first college semester, Nadwa still keeps them in mind.
“They always keep in touch and make sure we’re going to our internships and that we’re where we need to be,” she says. “I know I can always contact them if I need anything or have any ideas for Science Club.”
While the support system of her peers and mentors was a major part of her life and education, SCFG also provided her with rare opportunities. Her SCFG sponsored internship at Simmons College allowed her to familiarize herself with the school before starting her semester this fall.
A Bright Future
Nadwa hasn’t declared her major yet, but her internship making biosand filters and her combined interest in science and sociology has inspired a passion for Public Health. One of her favorite courses is Health, Illness, and Society.
Unlike other commuter students who simply leave when class ends, Nadwa was determined to be involved on campus.
As a Student Government Association senator for the Black Student Organization and a member of the Simmons Islamic Society, Nadwa often doesn’t leave campus until 8 o’clock.
Nadwa wouldn’t have it any other way. Through volunteer work and mentoring at SCFG, she realized she’s happiest when she’s busy and involved in a group or project.
She isn’t sure what the future will bring, but she knows she’ll always have people to turn to for advice and support.
“Once you join Science Club for Girls, you’re in. And when you leave, you’re still a part of the community,” Nadwa says. “You can always visit or ask for help.”