Student Spotlight: Simran Mishra and Mina Kian

The Minnesota Student Association elections are in full swing, I got to sit down and talk with Simran Mishra and Mina Kian, one president and VP pairing on the ballot this year. Besides their involvement in MSA, these ladies seek out opportunities to give a voice to underrepresented populations and make their mark in the community. Simran and Mina are ready to take on the world with their bright ideas and empowered voices.


Mina Kian is a third-year student majoring in Electrical Engineering and minoring in Computer Science and Latin. She’s been involved with MSA since her first year, as well as the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence. She says that MCAE has had a tremendous impact on her experience at the U, including helping with her transition into college and providing a community that has come to feel like family.


Simran Mishra is a third-year student majoring in Finance and has also been involved with MSA since her first year. She’s gotten involved within the Carlson School of Management by co-founding the student group Connecting Carlson to enhance the community within the college. She’s also helped advocate for a variety of issues on campus, including adding more inclusive dining hall options, reducing stigma around mental health and organizing the “Not Just Words” campaign.


I asked the ladies what some of their most impactful experiences they’ve had on campus. Simran says that through her work in MSA she’s learned the importance of listening, especially when working with a campus that has so many voices that need to be considered with each issue. Mina talks of similar experiences, and throughout her time she’s learned how to feel more empowered and share her voice on issues that matter to her. There’s confidence that comes with knowing when to ask questions, speak up or take a step back and listen to other perspectives.


One of the biggest goals for both Simran and Mina is creating changes in their community that will benefit generations to come. It’s all about thinking of the long-term impact of a project, not just one year of change. For Simran that means a future where she can combine public policy with business principles to create societal good or owning her own business or even teaching, whatever the world lets her do so she can have a lasting impact in her community. Mina wants to realize the structures built into policies or social pressures that were made to disempower people and work towards bringing those structures down using her problem solving skills that she’s learned through her engineering education. One of the most important lessons you can learn in college is the ability to translate skills you’ve learned in class to your passions and Simran and Mina have done exactly that.


I asked the two of them what advice they have for other students that want to be successful: both noted that success is determined by what we see in others and we need to have healthy ideas of success for ourselves. It’s important to remember that we choose to see the world with an optimistic or pessimistic view and can’t worry about the things that are out of our control. Our thinking has the power to change the way we see a situation, whether it’s thinking about how our small actions contribute to a larger goal or not letting the world be disheartening.

A huge thank you to Simran and Mina for sitting down for the interview, and remember Gophers to vote in MSA elections March 6th and 7th!