Sophomore Amira Guy from Laurel Springs, New Jersey, who is double majoring in Classical Studies and Political Science, is an individual who strives to make her mark on campus and on the world around her. She came into Villanova as a History Major, already set on going to law school one day because of her interests in human rights. One day she hopes to work for an organization like the UN Relief Agency or any sort of NGO that focuses on pushing through human rights expansion around the world. Ultimately, she desires to study International Law, so she can travel around the world to help people who cannot defend themselves.
After going to her first undergraduate level Spanish class and taking it for four years during high school, she could not understand what the professor was saying and decided to rethink her class schedule. So, on the first day of classes, she went to her academic advisor who then recommended that she learn Latin instead. After one class session, Amira fell in love with the subject, and thought to herself that she should try something new, so she declared a major in Classical Studies, a decision also backed by her love of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.
She also took International Relations her first semester with Dr. Clayton Cleveland, whose course she loved and who she served as a research assistant for during her freshman year. For him, she read United Nations security council meeting minutes and input the information into a database. The course and her assistantship caused her to fall in love with International Relations, so she decided to pursue Political Science, while dropping the History major.
On campus, she became one of the three founders of the community service organization, Strive, during her freshman year. She recalls, “I was with my two roommates in Good Council, and we were talking about different clubs on campus and how we wanted to begin a club that didn’t focus on just one foundation or just one issue. Instead, we wanted to start a club where every month we would pick a different non-profit or community service project. Doing this enabled us to constantly help people from different circles all year round. Together, we put our heads together and created Strive. Our first year was great. We hosted a powderpuff game, donated a bunch of clothes, and we went to feed the homeless in Philly.”
While working as a tour guide from the Blue Key Society, she is also the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Student Government Association. “I’ve always wanted to be in student government, and after serving as a member of SGA, I realized that they had this director position. I believe that, especially on campus, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are of vital importance because we need to make sure that everyone on campus feels comfortable, is able to go after their dreams, and can really fulfill their full experience at Villanova. What we do is hold programs, work with different students on campus with their issues and concerns, and we work with the administration to make sure that Villanova is a great place for everyone to study and have a great time.”
One of her favorite experiences on Villanova’s campus has been serving as an Orientation Counselor, which she did at the beginning of this year and will serve as again this coming year. “Those were the best twelve days that I’ve had at Villanova. Being on staff, getting to have a relationship with seniors and juniors, building that friendship, and being able to impact new students was absolutely amazing. I loved being able to have new students and help them feel that Villanova will be their home. I can’t wait to be on staff again.”
For the past two summers, she has had the opportunity to work as a Legislative Assistant for New Jersey State Senator Fred H. Madden and Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera. “I was able to work with them, help do research for them, work on cases, and performed whatever assistance they needed like organizing files and communicating with constituents. It was great to see the ground level of state government, and it opened many doors for me, just knowing the Senator and the Assemblywoman. It also allowed me to gain immense writing and research skills that I was able to use here as a student.”
Currently, Amira is still deciding what she wants to do this summer, but what has helped her for her applications and making a decision has been “The office of OUS and Kate Szumanski have really helped me. It was amazing going into the office, and Kate literally sat with me for thirty minutes, just helping me look at internships in Philly and in the Washington D.C. area. Most of the internships I’m applying to now are from Ms. Szumanski. I was able to get an internship in D.C. and she’s been helping me work my funds to be able to stay in D.C. She really cares about us and what we’re doing in our internships and our success here.”
In the spring of next year, she will be studying abroad at St. Anne’s College at Oxford University in the Classics Department and the Political Science Department. “I didn’t think that I would get this opportunity, because I was told that it was only open to Honors students. But I believe that college is what you make of it and you have to go after what you want to do. So, I worked really hard on my GPA and my internship experiences while researching other programs I could do, until I saw that Arcadia University has a program at Oxford and I decided to go for it. Now, I have the opportunity to travel there and study with their faculty and their tutorials. I’m really excited because I feel like Oxford can open up many doors for me, and also because of the opportunity to explore Europe.”
To other students, Amira recommends. “Handle business. I think college is a time to have a great time, make friends, and have great experiences. Like tomorrow night my friends and I are going to see Avengers: Endgame at 11:30pm, and it being an 11:30 movie, nobody should be doing that, but they are those experiences that you get to have here at college. You have to have those experiences in order to make those great memories, but there are also going to be those times where you have to handle business, so go after anything you want, go into your classes strong, go talk to your professors, get into your classes and learning and handle that GPA, and go for the internships you want no matter what people tell you. For example, I was told that I probably wouldn’t get to work at a Law Firm because I’m an undergrad, but I was still able to get an interview for one, which I have on Monday. College is what you make of it so never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. As long as you try your best then you know that it’s going to be a great college experience.”