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Ali Hussain of Plymouth, Minn., studied government as a College Scholar
Why did you choose Cornell?
I am a first-generation Pakistani American as well as the first person to go to college in my family in the United States. This has made me very grateful for being able to attend a place like Cornell and get the mentorship, assistance and inspiration I needed to succeed here.
Main Cornell extracurricular activity -- why is it important to you?
I have been heavily involved with leading several organizations, such as the Islamic Alliance for Justice and the Committee for the Advancement of Muslim Culture, that aim to empower the Muslim voice at Cornell. The Muslim American experience is still nascent on college campuses throughout the United States. Being able to help found and lead student groups and initiatives that bring diverse perspectives to social, cultural and political issues during this time in history has been very meaningful and important to me.
While at Cornell, what other accomplishments/activities are you most proud of?
Living at the Telluride House for four years with students from all academic interests, political opinions and racial, social and religious backgrounds has really broadened my perspectives on global issues and allowed me to learn about the wide range of diversity and thinking at Cornell. I am also grateful for the variety of diverse work experience I was able to get while at Cornell. Over the course of my four years, I interned with Google, where I also did a project on the impact Internet technology is having on authoritarian states, the American Civil Liberties Union in New Jersey and the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.
Your most profound turning point while at Cornell?
Without a doubt my summer in the Cornell Urban Scholars Program (which has been discontinued due to the financial climate, but hopefully just temporarily). With generous funding and unbelievable mentorship, this opportunity allowed me to work with nonprofit agencies in New York City and build strong relationships with likeminded Cornell undergraduate leaders. I am grateful for all the issues relating to education, health care, transportation and housing I was exposed to that summer. On a lighter note, since my personal computer crashed, I believe I have clocked the most hours in Uris Computer Lab in Cornell history. I made at least 100 Facebook friends though my time here.
Did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?
I came to Cornell focused completely on academics. I quickly came to realize that the classroom is only one aspect of your Cornell experience. Real growth for me often came though being involved and engaged with other issues on campus, student organizations and going to talks on topics I often did not even understand.
What are your plans for next year; where do you see yourself in 10 years?
After graduation I will be in Washington, D.C., doing policy work as part of my Truman Scholarship (they will place me). Next fall, I will pursue an M.Phil. in politics at Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship.
Who or what at Cornell influenced your Cornell education the most?
I am a first-generation Pakistani American as well as the first person to go to college in my family in the United States. This has made me very grateful for being able to attend a place like Cornell and get the mentorship, assistance and inspiration I needed to succeed here.
What Cornell-related scholarships/special financial benefits did you receive?
Scholarships and aid were the only reason I could come to Cornell; they include support from Cornell the Telluride Association, and scholarships endowed by Tom Jones, Frank and Rosa Rhodes, and Alfred and Mary Kahn, and the Iscol Family's Leadership Award.
What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?
All the free food opportunities around campus. Though almost infinite, I often knew these better than my own class schedule.