Picture of Shelina NooraliYear in School: 4th

Hometown: Porterville, CA
Major: Political Science

Minor: Community and Regional Development

On-campus leadership roles/positions/organizations: 

IGNITE at UC Davis: Founder and President

Davis Consulting Group: Consultant

Delta Sigma Pi: Member

ASUCD: Senator Irveen Grewal’s Chief of Staff

Global Business Brigades: Member

Population Connection: Advocate for Reproductive Rights

Blum Center for Developing Economies: Fellow for 2016

California Civic Engagement Project: Policy and Research Intern

Why do you choose to be involved as a student leader?

Regarding IGNITE, I see a need for more women in politics. Statistics show that women are underrepresented in politics. One reason for this is because not enough women are asked to run for office. These reasons led me to believe that organizations like IGNITE are very important — to make women realize that they can and should run for public office.

Sometimes forces around you tell you that “you need to do something–you need to initiate a change.”  Being a leader, therefore, is more than just adding a line to your resume.  It is about making a sustainable impact—I chose to make impact through IGNITE.

What have you learned about leadership through your work with others on campus?
First, there is no right way to be a leader; we all have different skill sets.  No one is born a leader and our ability to lead has to be honed over time. Leadership is a product of our own passions and experiences. But, I would argue that the morals and ethics one internalizes can contribute to the type of leader that they choose to become. Next, leadership is transferable. Good leaders need to develop and nurture other leaders to make lasting change.  Finally, a good leader needs to know when to take a step back; therefore, being a leader means making space for others so that they can have a chance to share and contribute.

What is your most memorable experience at UC, Davis? What is your favorite UC, Davis tradition?

Finishing my undergraduate honors thesis for the Political Science Department was my most memorable experience by far. It was a big challenge and I am happy I did it. I have presented my research at two different conferences and will work with my adviser to publish it in the future.  It was a rough eight to nine months of writing, but the final product reaffirmed that I could do anything I set my mind to.

What is your favorite UC, Davis tradition?

Pajamarino- I love PJ’s!  Also, getting ½ off coffee at the CoHo during finals.

What advice would you give to a student thinking about getting involved?

Go for it because you will never know what you like unless you explore.  You do not want to graduate with regrets that you could have, or should have, done more. Right now, we have agency. This is such a diverse campus. We have the choice of selecting a space, or spaces, on campus that help us grow and that genuinely make us happy. With agency, we also have the option of leaving. Do not be afraid to leave a space that does not quite work for you.

How has getting involved complement your studies?

Getting involved on campus has given me purpose.  It is a rewarding feeling knowing that you have skills that can be used to positively contribute to a space on campus and in the larger community. I strongly believe that every day you have an opportunity to better yourself and to positively contribute to society. A small contribution every day adds up to big change over time.

Also, getting involved on campus has allowed me to stay balanced. I believe one’s undergraduate career is like a seesaw; you will not find nor maintain balance if you do not distribute your weight evenly.

 What are your future plans and how has your involvement on campus prepared you for life after graduation?

I plan on receiving a Master’s in Public Policy and Juris Doctorate joint degree.  I want to work in education policy because I am passionate about increasing access to quality education.  In the future, I hope to run for public office.

Being involved reinforced what I want to do.  The relationships, experiences, and perspectives I have gained will carry over to my professional life.

Fun Facts

  • Role Model: My brother, Imran Noorali. He graduated from USC and was the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college.  He is now pursuing a Master’s in International Affairs at Columbia University. If I found myself in quicksand, he would always know what to do to help me out. He is a mentor and my best friend. My other role model is the fictional character, Leslie Knope, from the show Parks and Recreation. Leslie’s drive to promote gender equality within the community, equalize the playing field in politics and be a civil servant are qualities I admire very much. Also, I love waffles.
  • Favorite Quote/Motto: “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall
  • Hobbies: Reading, cooking things in my crockpot, watching Parks and Recreation and the news, exploring new coffee shops.