COD student receives Lincoln Civic Engagement Award
College of DuPage student Amna Razi has been named a 2019 Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate.
She is the only community college student in the state to receive the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award, which includes a $1,000 scholarship.
Each fall, a senior from each of Illinois' four-year colleges and universities and one student from the state's community colleges are presented with the award. Students are honored for demonstrating outstanding leadership qualities, service contributions, academic success and extracurricular achievements.
Razi, of Wheaton, is a second-year student on track to graduate with an associate in science degree in May 2020. She wanted to make a change in the college community from the moment she arrived on campus.
"I've always been interested in making the world a better place wherever I go," she said. "I just want to help humanity in every way I can."
In an effort to be a part of the change she wants to see, Razi joined COD's Student Leadership Council, which facilitates values-based opportunities for leadership development to enhance citizenship at the college and in the community. She now serves as vice president of SLC.
Shortly after taking office, Razi sat on the Dining Services Committee to begin the process of making Halal Food, Islamically permissible meat for Muslims, available to students in the campus cafeteria.
In April, along with fellow SLC members, she went to Springfield to meet with Illinois state representatives and senators to advocate for legislation to increase resources for community college students in the state.
Participation in SLC was only the first step in Razi's involvement on campus. Last spring, she became the founding vice president of COD's chapter of Girl Up, a student organization that focuses on raising awareness of the issues that girls and young women face in third-world countries.
The club holds fundraisers and events such as women empowerment discussion panels, Henna for Syria and Project Cursive, in which members write inspiring letters to girls facing societal challenges.
Razi said her work with Girl Up opened her eyes to the magnitude of the positive effect she can have on the world around her.
"It made me realize that no matter how small you think your efforts are, in the grand scheme of things, they matter a lot," she said.
Razi is a member of the Muslim Student Association, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and COD's Living Leadership program, which focuses on developing students into active leaders. In August, she served as a student leader for New Student Orientation. Razi also has achieved academically, holding a 3.68 GPA.
COD President Brian Caputo is impressed with Razi's accomplishments, both in and out of the classroom.
"Amna brings dedication and integrity to all of her endeavors," he said. "She is an exceptional example of all that a student can be when she strives to succeed academically while contributing to her community and the world at large."
After graduating from COD, Razi plans to transfer to a four-year college to study environmental science. She would like to pursue a career where she can continue to improve society.
"Investigating solutions to solve global warming is one of my biggest goals in life," she said. "Studying environmental science is challenging, but I know that this is the field where I will be able to help our world the most."