Ohio University

Bobcat Spotlight: Imani Edwards encourages Bobcats to advocate for themselves

Bobcat Spotlight: Imani Edwards encourages Bobcats to advocate for themselves

Major: Politics of the Africana Community (B.S.S)
Minor: African American Studies
Hometown: Warrensville Heights, Ohio
Involvement on Campus:

  • President – Ohio University Recruiting Society
  • Community Service Chair – Ohio University Recruiting Society
  • Miss Bronze & Miss Congeniality 2017 – Alpha Phi Alpha -Phi Chapter
  • Member – Black Student Cultural Programming Board
  • Member – POCO (Political Communications)
  • Office Assistant – Career and Leadership Development Center
  • Assistant Recruiter – Ohio University Human Resources
  • Supervisor – Walter Fieldhouse

Graduation date: December 2018

Current Position: Office manager and scheduler for Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH-11)

How did you choose Ohio University?
For me, there was really no other choice. I have the privilege of coming from a family with Ohio University graduates. The first time I visited Athens was in 2010 during Black Alumni Reunion Weekend. Although I was in middle school during the visit, the love and supportive community that surrounded me was undeniable. From that moment, I was sold. When it finally came to applying in my senior year of high school, OHIO was still at the top of my list! Making the decision to attend OHIO was, by far, one of the best decisions I could have made!

How did you choose your major and what excited you most about it?
Admittedly, I came to OHIO as a political science major. While the courses I was taking taught me a lot, I found it to be a bit limiting at times, particularly because I perform best learning in the field versus in a classroom. Switching to University College allowed me the flexibility to be successful both inside and outside of the classroom! It was because of this change that I was able to spend my final semester of college interning in Washington D.C. as an Education Policy intern for the National Urban League, an opportunity provided by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. My semester interning in D.C. was the catalyst for the career I have now on the Hill.

Have you ever used career or leadership training services on campus?
Absolutely! Like most, I began utilizing the drop-in services [at the Career and Leadership Development Center] for resume and cover letter review. Soon after, I found myself immersed in career coaching and attending workshops offered for the various leadership certificates! Undoubtedly, the CLDC prepared me to become more confident as a professional.

Did you hold any leadership roles at OHIO?
My most memorable moment at OHIO was during my time in leadership serving as president of the Ohio University Recruiting Society. As president, I was able to continue the legacy of working with the admissions department to ensure the successful completion recruitment programs such as the Multicultural Visit Program (MVP) and Cultural Connections. Serving as president strengthened my skills as a leader, critical thinker, speaker, problem solver and deepened my love for OHIO as a Bobcat!

Tell us about one of your most significant career development experiences at OHIO.
While there were many, the most significant career development experience I had at OHIO was serving as the Student Speaker for #OHIOUpClose, an on-campus visitation program for admitted students. This was significant for my career development because it reminded me of the importance of being intentional with the use of my words. Standing and speaking in front of an audience with hundreds of people from all over this nation representing such a wide-ranging spectrum was challenging. My words had to be powerful, succinct, engaging and captivating. Having the opportunity to fine-tune that skill at OHIO has allowed this process to become more efficient when I find myself preparing to speak as a professional today. Also, it prepared me to become comfortable in speaking to individuals who may look and think differently from myself. This opportunity reaffirmed that no matter the differences, there is almost always a common thread that unites us all.

Working on Capitol Hill can be tough. However, no matter party affiliation, religion or ideology, I can often find a uniting commonality. I am thankful for the fundamental values and principles that OHIO reinforced for me during my time there.

What is your favorite thing about being a Bobcat?
My favorite thing about being a Bobcat is the family that extends past graduation. To me, Bobcat alumni are the best, and they are everywhere! When I first moved to D.C., I was skeptical. However, I have been able to connect and find comfort with several Bobcat alumni who have made my transition seamless, providing me with resources and encouragement when I’m in need.

What advice would you give to your fellow Bobcats?
Get involved! There are so many organizations and opportunities that OHIO provides to ensure you are successful not only as a student but an individual. What I love most about OHIO is that if for whatever reason you are not able to find an organization that best fits you, creating that space is super easy! Finally, advocate for yourself! While it has been my experience that faculty and staff genuinely want to see you succeed, you cannot be afraid or hesitate when it comes to advocating for yourself. You must remember that you will get what you put in. So, give it all you got!

What has your career been like since graduation?
Upon graduation, I was offered full-time employment in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill. Currently, I serve in the office of Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH-11) as her scheduler and office manager. This role encompasses a lot and constantly keeps me on my toes. I know for a fact that my success here in D.C. is directly attributed to my maturation at OHIO.