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Zainab Kandeh

Photo courtesy of: Ohio University ACM

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Student Zainab Kandeh featured on MSNBC website

Senior recognized for her outstanding leadership


Ohio University senior journalism major Zainab Kandeh was recently featured in MSNBC's "Women in Politics: College Edition 2014" series.

Since March, the online series has highlighted women leaders in student government on college and university campuses across the nation.

According to the MSNBC website, Kandeh was "nominated by Ohio University as a leader making a difference not only through key issues on campus, but in bridging the gender gap in politics."

A news and information major in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Kandeh is scheduled to graduate this spring. She plans on pursuing a master's degree in human resources management beginning next year.

"I am humbled by this and I feel very much honored to represent Ohio University in this capacity," Kandeh said. "To be recognized by the national media for my contributions blew me away. Every year, President [Roderick J.] McDavis encourages first-year students to leave the University better than they found it and I hope that I have been able to do that."

Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi commented on Kandeh's leadership contributions to campus.

"Zainab has been an incredible student leader throughout her academic career," Lombardi said. "She is constantly advocating for student interests and has maintained her convictions in doing so. What I appreciate about Zainab the most is that she is always looking for solutions to the difficult issues we face, and she recognizes and provides the necessary leadership to effect such change in a very positive manner."

Kandeh has earned many honors since arriving on campus from her hometown of Delaware, Ohio, nearly four years ago. A few of her 2014 honors include:
•   Scripps Next Top Intern
•   Homecoming Queen
•   Pepsi Ohio University Campus Leadership Scholarship
•   Ruby Award for Outstanding Student Leadership
•   Blackburn/Spencer Achievement Award

Kandeh is among the most active students on campus. She is the treasurer for Student Senate, an anchor/reporter at WOUB Public Media, a voting member of the Transportation and Parking Services Committee and is a former commissioner for the Student Appropriations Committee, which allocated the $400,000 programming budget to student organizations.

Kandeh also shares her talents with the local community. In 2014, she worked as a mentor in the Woman 2 Woman Mentorship Program and also served as a volunteer for Athens Beautification Day and the Community Highway Clean-up.

One of the accomplishments Kandeh is most proud of is founding and serving as chair of Students in Philanthropy earlier this year. The student organization's mission is to raise funds for students in financial need. It does this by hosting fundraising events geared toward educating students on the benefits of philanthropy and helping others.

"I created this organization because when I was a resident assistant I knew many students who had to leave school because of financial reasons, so I wanted to do something about it," Kandeh said. "Although I will graduate in the spring, I hope to leave a sentiment that students always help other students."

Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones said Kandeh stands out among the crowd for many reasons.

"Zainab had become an accomplished student leader on campus," Hall-Jones said. "She has been recognized over and over again for her academic studies, leadership and service. Her passion for social justice, her connection and dedication to the local community and her public speaking skills make her exceptional."

Winsome Chunnu-Brayda, associate director of the Ohio University Multicultural Center and personal mentor to Kandeh, said Kandeh being profiled nationally on MSNBC is a well-deserved recognition.

"She works extremely hard and performs well academically," Chunnu-Brayda said. "She's also active in various organizations, so one can't help but admire her."

Kandeh said that although there is no monetary or physical award for being featured in the MSNBC series, she is still very excited.

"Being featured nationally is enough for me," she said. "Honestly, I feel that all I've been doing is what's right. You should go out and help people and join organizations to enrich your college experience and build new skills. There are so many students, faculty and staff that are doing great things here and I'm glad to be a testament to the kind of student Ohio University cultivates."

To read the MSNBC profile of Zainab Kandeh, visit http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/women-politics-college-edition-ohio-university.