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Kalamazoo College

Rumsha Sajid


Hometown: Queens, NY
Major: English
Concentration: Public Policy & Urban Affairs
Study Away: The Chicago Program: Social Justice
Best Adjective to Describe You: Spirited

In 20 words or less, what is the best thing about being part of this department?
My professors are brilliant and devoted to social justice. They are sincerely invested in the development of my critical and creative writing voice.

What is your advice to first years and sophomores about getting connected to this department?
Take advantage of the small class sizes by reaching out to professors in office hours and getting to know them. They are already committed to your learning and growth. Showing that you want to receive their guidance illustrates your diligence and will ultimately help your self-development as a student and potentially a lifelong receiver of valuable mentorship.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
I’ve learned more about my needs as a person. Whether they are intellectual, personal, or emotional, I think I have a better and healthier framework for knowing what I want through my experiences with classes, friends, student organizations, on-campus jobs, and internships.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
I have two: Dr. Marin Heinritz’s “Intermediate Nonfiction Writing” and Dr. Shanna Salinas’ “Chicanx Literature.” These courses have forever impacted my writing, both in terms of my voice as an imaginative essayist and my ability to undertake literary analysis.

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?
I have tried courses from several different disciplines and found the departments that worked best for my personal path. I have taken courses from Anthropology/Sociology to Math, Psychology, Political Science and Economics. All are invaluable to my intellectual growth and have taught me a great deal about my skills in undertaking different learning styles.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?
I have been a Co-Director of the Kalamazoo Poetry Collective, a committee member of The Cauldron (K’s literary magazine), an Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership Scholar, a former Resident Assistant, a founding member and former President of the Women of Color Alliance, a former member of the Student of Color Coalition, and a Teaching Assistant for the English Department. I was a volunteer with a civic engagement program my first year called the Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative Creative Writing Project. Now, I am a Civic Engagement Scholar for Fire Historical Cultural Arts Collaborative where I co-facilitate poetry workshops with teens in Kalamazoo. During 2016 I was an intern with Narika, which is a non-profit domestic violence resource organization for South Asians in Oakland, California. During my study away program I was an intern with Young Chicago Authors, which is a youth-centered poetry and hip-hop organization. During the summer of 2017 I interned with Insight Policy Research, which is a policy organization aimed at women’s issues, healthcare, and education in Washington, D.C. 

What is your SIP?
My SIP is an analysis of non-fiction narratives written by incarcerated women in the United States and narratives written by Palestinian women living under Israeli occupation. My goals include gaining a better understanding of the particular vulnerability of women under global notions of policing and surveillance as well as making the connections between transnational understandings of security and how these oppressions are globally interwoven under capitalism.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
I want to pursue a career in arts justice where anti-racism and creativity, particularly as it pertains to writing, are used together in my daily work.  This may be seen in journalism, policy advocacy, non-profit organizations or several other fields.

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