Power, positivity, progress | New
The 2021-2022 school year will host an all-female leadership team for the 74th Session of the Student Government Association, or SGA, comprising Student Body Chairperson Natalie Parks, Student Senate Chairperson Iman Ahmed and Chief Justice of the Judicial Court Karissa McIntosh.
“The best way to describe it is ‘inspiring’,” Ahmed said in an email to the Battalion. “To be surrounded by strong women who have worked extremely hard to get to where they are, who lead so graciously and are so dedicated to serving students is simply uplifting. As we lead each in our respective roles and come together to achieve our common goals, I constantly feel grateful to be working alongside such phenomenal women, and [to] also rely on them for support when needed.
Parks’ election makes her the sixth woman to hold the post of student body president in A&M history, as well as the first Pan-Hellenic woman to be elected to that post. Parks said she hopes to inspire the Greek community as a leader on campus.
“For me personally, being able to be the first student body president who is also a sorority woman at Texas A&M is pretty monumental for this community, especially because within the Pan-Hellenic community we love to talk about the importance empowerment of women. women and support and lean on each other, ”Parks said. “I hope when people see that there is someone in this role of student body president, who was also one of them, who came from this community and enjoys being a part of this community, that it is very possible to access the different spaces that maybe people had never really thought of going there before.
Parks was previously the junior class president and was the youngest cabinet member of former student body president Mickey Jaillet.
“My time as junior class president over the past year has reminded me of how much I love dealing with people – how much I love hearing people’s thoughts. on different things, ”Parks said. “With all of my different leadership opportunities and experiences in being able to serve students in various capacities in various organizations during my time at Texas A&M, each of these experiences greatly shaped my desire to think about running for the presidency of the body. student. “
Parks’ campaign, “TAMU by You,” focused on improving the well-being, inclusion and tradition of students on campus. Parks said she looks forward to meeting and interacting with the students to create their ideal campus environment.
“I’m a very relationship-oriented person,” Parks said. “I like to meet people. I like to connect with people, I like to make new friends. It’s something super exciting in this role, it’s just the number of opportunities you have to do it. I’m very excited for the coming year and seeing students back on campus, it’s probably one of the things I’ve missed the most over the whole year and a half, all this COVID[-19] back then it’s just walking around campus and saying ‘hello’ to people and seeing your friends and maybe seeing someone from high school that you haven’t seen in a very long time. So all in all I’m very looking forward to being able to get in touch with the students, hopefully fully in person.
Ahmed began her career at SGA during her freshman year on campus when she ran for a Senate position. Since then, she has risen through the ranks to now occupy the highest management position.
“When I ran for the Student Senate as a freshman and every year since, I never thought I would be in that position today, as the Speaker of the Student Senate,” Ahmed said. “Making the decision to introduce myself as a speaker was not a decision I made lightly. It took me months of careful thought and deliberation to make sure I was the right fit for this job and that I was ready to give it my all. “
Together with the female chief of staff, Ahmed said the milestone shows the progression from an all-male military school to a university that embraces those who have taken advantage of the opportunities presented and forged a new path for the university.
“It is necessary to celebrate this historic milestone, to see how far we have come,” Ahmed said. “It shows that whatever your background, you have a place at Texas A&M University and a place at the table. It’s a step in the right direction, but there are so many more steps to take on this journey. “
As the first Sudanese American, Muslim and black woman to chair the Senate, Ahmed said she hoped to inspire women, especially those from color and religious minorities, to step out of their comfort zone and achieve all the goals they seek. they aspire.
“I know that sometimes women can have self-doubt, impostor syndrome and more, but never let fear or doubt stop you from pursuing your goals. Never let anyone or anything make you feel small, inferior or incapable, ”Ahmed said. “You have the ability, you just have to believe in yourself and have that confidence in yourself.”
McIntosh served as chief justice of the court last year and became the first chief justice to be confirmed for two sessions. She said she hopes to build on what was developed last year and establish more links with the judiciary.
“It’s not usual to start over,” McIntosh said. “But just the way the events unfolded, I was asked to come back, which was a huge honor to be the first Chief Justice to do it twice. I learned a lot last year. And so this year, it’s much more of a smooth transition.
McIntosh said she looks forward to growing her staff and working to impart what she has learned during her tenures as a leader. McIntosh strives to help younger cabinet members pass on his legacy.
“I still love the mentorship. My young people in the Student Government Association, especially whenever I get a younger court attorney who comes in first grade, or just younger judges, ”McIntosh said. “Any opportunity I can have to help other people, whether it’s through pre-legal society or through student government, if people are like, ‘Hey, I have questions, you want a coffee? This is my favorite part of the job is building those relationships with other people and helping them get to where they want to be.
Ahead of her freshman year, McIntosh said she scheduled a coffee with the then chief justice to get a feel for what court tribunal looked like. She said she was inspired by this meeting and hopes to inspire others in the same way.
“I hope to be able to inspire people the same way I was inspired as a freshman and see that my role is to give everyone a chance,” McIntosh said. “I always say that my role is that of chief judge, [but] my vote does not weigh more than that of others. My role is to make sure that [members] get opportunities and experiences.
The inauguration of the all-female SGA leadership team coincides with the appointment of Mr. Katherine Banks, who began as the 26th president of the university on June 1. Banks is the second woman to hold this post, after former President Elsa A. Murano in 2008-2009.
“President Banks is the person who will lead us towards a positive future for A&M and who will also align with Karrisa, Iman and myself, who are great to lead us at the student government level towards a positive future as well,” declared Parks. “This overlap really inspires me because it just so happens that we were all appointed or elected at the same time, and I really believe that everything happens for a reason.”
Parks said that while this is the first year of an all-female firm, she knows it won’t be the last and hopes to set an example for future firms and women seeking leadership positions.
“Maybe there will be three women representing the student government on the road, I really hope it will be more cohesive in the future, because I think it is so powerful and so positive for women in the world and the society we live in, and just the different constructions that we’ve had to face and those obstacles, “Parks said.” The world is progressing beyond points where we were maybe even a few years ago. years, and I think it’s amazing, and I’m so excited to say I’m in. But I really hope it doesn’t end anytime soon at Texas A&M.