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Special Senior Spotlight: Ladan Hadafow

To start of this academic year’s Special Senior Spotlight an under-class(wo)men has nominated Ladan Hadafow (’19)  because of the incredible hardwork that she’s seen Ladan do. Ladan Hadafow is a Biology Education major with a Teaching English as a Second Language minor (TESL). Ladan has been overly involved throughout her time at St. Kate’s and here is a list to prove it: club member and club leader with the Muslim Student Association (MSA), Student Senate, Education Club, a Peer Mentor with Multicultural, International Programs and Services (MIPS), a First Year and Transfer Orientation Leader (OL), and as a First Step Student Coordinator! Ladan answered questions for us to learn more about her involvement and the change she’s help make at St. Kate’s,  

Q: Can you believe you’re a senior and about to graduate in a few months?

Ladan: I really can! I know I’m supposed to say that time has passed so quickly but I genuinely can’t wait to graduate! Part of me is already nostalgic about all the fun and growth I’ve done with friends during college so it’s a little bittersweet. As the time draws nearer, I find myself reflecting on how I spent my time, who I was with, and some things I wish I could have done. I realize though, with all the #regrets, comes some pretty amazing experiences that I’ve come to appreciate.


Q: Talk about your role as the MSA president and the changes that you’ve helped make for the university?

Ladan: Last year, I served as the MSA President and it was a really special time. With board members Zaynab Abdi, Fadila Ibrahim, Zaynab Hadi, Asma Mohamed, Samira Hadafow, Saliya Ali, and Emaan Soliman, we were able to push for establishing a bigger prayer space for religious students, especially with the growing number of Muslim students. Through our Islam Awareness Week events, we advocated for Muslim students by bringing to light several ways the university failed to support the Muslim population. During an event called Listening to Understand, we invited the St. Kate’s community to come and hear the perspectives of Muslim students regarding the campus fires and the shooting incident. This event helped to begin talks with administration about hiring a Muslim Chaplain, a much needed and overdue fixture on our campus. Although these discussions are still happening, this year’s MSA Executive Board is working hard to further advocate for Muslim students.


Q: What is one thing you have learned at St. Kate’s that you will take away with you?

Ladan: There’s so much to say but if I had to pick one–it’s that if we have our voices so that we can advocate for ourselves and one another, we might as well as do something! It’s pretty much ingrained in me now that if there’s something I or someone else is passionate about, we can get together and figure out some way we can support that cause–whatever it may be. Self-advocacy is a huge part of my life and I will definitely take that with me wherever I end up.


Q: After going through college now, what would you tell your senior high school self or first-year self?

Ladan: I’d tell my first year self that no, you don’t have to throw yourself into every organization ever. Spend some time researching and figuring out which ones you’d really like to be a part of. Your time is precious so take some time to decide who you’re going to spend it on. I’d also tell her to dance and sing more–this time is short so enjoy it!


Q: Who are the people (faculty/staff/students/departments/etc) you’d like to thank for your experience at St. Kate’s and why?

Ladan: Can I get a quick shout-out to Kim Munoz and Sia Vang! These two women have been such positive aspects of my St. Kate’s experience! I can’t imagine not having them in my life! They’ve really make me look deep in myself, helped me grow in immeasurable ways, and have continued to support me throughout my years.


Q: Are there plans after St. Kate’s?

Ladan: Well, I’m currently applying for the Peace Corps. I hope to spend some time with that before thinking about grad school. Overall, I’m seeing some overseas time–whatever that may look like.


Q: What will you miss most about being an undergraduate student?

Ladan: The free food! Also, the feeling that you can do whatever, whenever (but I really hope to keep that with me). Truly, I will miss the people–in the MIPS office and the Center for Women. Walking into a room full of vibrant, phenomenal people who are sharing snacks (and tea) and just jumping in with whatever. There’s nothing like the community at St. Kate’s.


Q: Any word of advice to St. Kate’s students?

Ladan: Speak up. Advocate for yourself. For others. Be critical of your surroundings, of the structures of your school and the outside world. Laugh and cry. I sound so generic but there’s really no point in complicating it. SLEEP. I can’t stress this–please don’t over indulge in the toxic we-all-be-struggling culture where we advertise how unhealthy our lives can get in the midst of exams and personal crises. We all struggling but that struggle can be lessened if we get some sleep, drink some water, and eat well.


Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

Ladan: Did I mention the sleep thing? Because, for real, sleep. 


Thank you Ladan for all you’ve done at St. Kate’s. HC STCU wishes you well with your post-graduate plans! Also, special shout-out to Ladan for supporting our online platform and being of the original’s with HC STCU!


*We are now accepting nominations of students/faculty/staff that inspire you, empower you, and/or have made a positive influence in your life for different spotlights: special senior spotlight, student spotlight, special staff spotlight, and student organization spotlight*

Andrea Duarte-Alonso is a grad from Saint Catherine University where she received her bachelor's of Art in Political Science, Women's Studies, and English. She founded HC STCU in order to include voices that are hardly ever represented in media. Andrea is a storyteller, writer, and a political enthusiast. Her areas of interest lie in writing (check her website storiesfromunheardvoices.com that was created for her community), traveling, and fighting for social justice issues.
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