IS graduate Alea Mohamed on following her passion for global affairs

June 06, 2023

Growing up, IS graduate Alea Mohamed always had a passion for global affairs. As a child she would watch the nightly news like clockwork, waiting eagerly for the world news segment. However, when she began her undergraduate degree, Mohamed went into the sciences thinking that the arts may not lead to a stable career path. Now she’s grateful that she changed course. “In the end, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.” She says, “I was able to transition from a co-op position into a full-time job with Environment and Climate Change Canada. If you’re passionate about a certain field, you can always find ways of making that into a career.”

After transferring to the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Mohamed took to her coursework right away. With a strong passion for sustainability and climate action, Mohamed loved how she was able to channel her personal interests into her assignments. Outside of the classroom she was involved with several on-campus groups including Embark Sustainability, International Studies Student Association (ISSA) and the Somali Students Association (SSA). Mohamed says that these groups made her undergraduate experience especially memorable. “When classes were online and everyone was going through a really difficult time because of the pandemic, we were able keep connected with each other,” she says. “The people you meet along the way make university memorable, and I think that I would not have had nearly as much fun if I was not involved on campus.”

During her time with Embark, Mohamed helped update the Food Rescue Program to be more food justice-oriented and counts this as one of her proudest achievements, “I was able to work with students on campus and felt like I was really making a positive impact,” she shares. Mohamed was also involved in off-campus activities and had the opportunity to travel with a B.C.-based youth climate action organization to the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt this past November, with the support of the School for International Studies, SFU Sustainability, CERi, and Embark Sustainability. “I had the chance to meet up with not only the SFU delegation, but young climate activists from across the globe,” she says. “It really inspired me to continue to work in climate policy and try to make a future for myself where I feel that I’m making a positive impact.”

Mohamed’s outstanding academic achievement and community leadership have earned her a Robert C. Brown Award this year. Before she moves on from SFU she has a few parting words of encouragement for undergraduate students: “The most important thing I learned is that as long as you find opportunities and develop transferable skills during your undergraduate experience, you can find work – regardless of what field your degree is in. Don’t feel discouraged by what society is telling you and follow your passions!”