Momina Khurram '22
Why did you decide to study international studies?
The summer before I came to Whitworth, I received an internship in the foreign ministry of Pakistan where I got to shadow the diplomat team. This sparked an interest in learning more about politics and the way different cultures interact with each other and with the organizations present in today's world. My curiosity about the world outside of my hometown and the complexity of Pakistan's foreign relations with the U.S. led me to study the global issues that we always hear and see in the media.
What are some of your favorite classes so far?
I loved the Women in American Politics class that I took with Dr. Kathy Lee in my sophomore year. I am very passionate about gender studies, and that class made me more aware of the types of struggles women have faced throughout different eras. It also helped me understand the difference between white feminism and the struggles of women of color. I am currently taking Gender, Politics & Law, which has taught me even more about genders beyond males and females and has increased my knowledge in the law surrounding the genders in the U.S.
Tell us about a unique experience you've had or a project you've worked on for your major.
I am a very relational person who loves to connect to people with the similarities we all share. During my years in the international studies major, I have had the opportunity to explore many topics around the world, but my favorite research was on the End SARS movement in Nigeria. I have many close friends from Nigeria, and engaging in this conversation with them helped me build a strong relationship because they knew I was a safe person for them to talk to about it. It made me realize that these experiences are what help us bond and trust other people more, and they are what I will cherish the most in the future.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about majoring in international studies?
I would advise them to take the opportunity to get to know the professors in the department. They are all very helpful and understanding people who have great things to share. I would also say to learn from people's experiences that they have had in different parts of the world. Learning someone's culture helps us connect and appreciate them on a different level, while it also expands our worldview. I have met some of the most wonderful people from at least every single continent, and it has left me in awe of the world that surrounds us.
What's your dream job?
I have always wanted to work as an ambassador for Pakistan and work in the foreign ministry of Pakistan. However, I have time to get there and in the meanwhile I want to also work in project coordination/management for nonprofit projects.
Who has been an important connection for you at Whitworth, and why?
Lulu Gonzalez, the assistant director of the international student program, has been one of the most important parts of my journey at Whitworth. In my freshman year pre-orientation, Lulu welcomed us with a saying, "Nothing is forever and nothing is for sure," and this saying became one of the most important pieces of advice for me that helped me survive my adjustment from Pakistani culture to the U.S. culture, COVID-19 uncertainties, homesickness and many hardships that I faced during my time at Whitworth. Lulu has not only been a mentor but became family with all the love she had to give. She has helped me see life in a very open-minded and positive way, which helps in how I see everyone and everything around me. She made Whitworth a second home for me and many others, and for that I will forever be grateful.
How would you describe Whitworth?
For me, Whitworth is a place of growth and opportunities to better oneself. It is a home away from home where I have made the most important connections of my life and met with the people whom I have the privilege of calling the best of friends anyone can ask for who have pushed me. It has helped me shape my worldview out of the bubble and has helped me broaden my horizons. Whitworth is a place where I have felt safe to have uncomfortable and hard conversations for the betterment of humanity. It is a place where I can be in the same room as others who wish nothing but the best for the world around us.
Learn more about Whitworth's international studies, B.A. program