Shelina Noorali: President of Ignite

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Name: Shelina Noorali

Major: Political Science, with a minor in Community and Regional Development

Year: 2016

Hometown: Porterville, CA

Tell me about yourself!

Currently, I am the President and Founder of the UC Davis chapter of Ignite, an organization that aims to encourage more women to hold a position of political office. In addition, I am also a member of a business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, where I have accumulated a great network and set of leadership skills. I am very passionate about creating change, hoping to eventually attend graduate school for public policy, with dreams of eventually working to reform education policy. 

What made you want to start a chapter of Ignite at UC Davis?

In the future, I would like to run for office. I realized that many women have the same goals as I do, but don’t have the means to get there. Starting Ignite meant helping women realize that running for political office is an attainable goal- something we are all capable of doing.

What would you say is the collective goal for Ignite at UC Davis?

Our goal is to bring awareness to the fact that there are not enough women in elected positions in the political sphere. By giving our officers and members the tools, networks, and resources to make that goal a reality, we hope to plant the seed that any woman who is passionate and driven has what it takes to hold office.

Can you talk about the process of founding a chapter of Ignite at UC Davis?

Originally I joined the Ignite College Council which brings young women together with the intent of starting chapters at their universities. Last summer I met other women on the council from different UC’s, and left that meeting with the goal of starting a chapter. I had my doubts about whether or not I could do it- I was involved in the business fraternity, planned on graduating by this summer, and knew that the success of this chapter was not going to happen overnight. Despite my reservations, I reached out to a lot of my friends and they told me that this club could easily gain momentum; they had never heard of any club like it. So I submitted an application to the University, took to Facebook to scout potential members and officers, and gave them the resources I first received at the College Council meeting.

What made you want to join Delta Sigma Pi?

There isn’t really a business program at UC Davis and I wanted to get a better understanding of the in’s and out’s of negotiation, leadership skills, and networking. Business is the foundation for everything. Through Delta Sigma Pi, I learned how to have an idea and make it happen.

What are your hopes for the future?

Giving back to the local community is very important to me; I would want to start out in local government, working as a city councilmember, or on a school board, and eventually work my way up to running for State Assembly.  

What do you love most about UC Davis?

There is such a great sense of community here. It’s a community that I can give to, that gives back so much to me. People at UC Davis genuinely care about of the well-being of others and have an earnest desire to see their peers succeed, and I’m very happy to be a part of a community like that.

Do you have any advice for young girls who want to hold political office one day?

Write down your goal and see how that idea manifests itself in the smallest ways. Envision it. It’s kind of like having crazy dreams and feeling the urge to remember them because it could be the next million dollar idea.  I would encourage her to keep that piece of paper, and to come back to it when she has lost sight of the goal she has set for herself. Another essential aspect of being elected into a political position is to surround yourself with mentors who can assist her along the way. Getting to elected office requires a lot of steps, it is not a straight shot. By having a mentor it helps you not lose sight of that goal- it is an irreplaceable and expansive resource. Think positive, set goals, and never quit.