Alum Kadra Abdi (‘08) discusses life after Luther

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Alum Kadra Abdi (‘08) discusses life after Luther

Kadra Abdi graduated from Luther in 2008 with women and gender studies and anthropology majors.

Kadra Abdi graduated from Luther in 2008 with women and gender studies and anthropology majors.

Photo courtesy of weareota.com

Kadra Abdi graduated from Luther in 2008 with women and gender studies and anthropology majors.

Photo courtesy of weareota.com

Photo courtesy of weareota.com

Kadra Abdi graduated from Luther in 2008 with women and gender studies and anthropology majors.

Juhl Kuhlemeier, Staff Writer

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Alum Kadra Abdi (‘08) returned to Luther on March 6 to give a lecture, “Social Entrepreneurship and Navigating Professional Life After Luther,” celebrating both the 50th anniversary of Black Student Union and Women’s History Month.

The lecture was sponsored by BSU, the anthropology department, and the women and gender studies department. Abdi discussed social entrepreneurship and life after Luther, focusing on the option of social activism as a business and career for individuals who want to make a difference in this world.

At Luther, Abdi double majored in women and gender studies and anthropology. Abdi now lives in Minneapolis as a businesswoman and activist, having created several business platforms. Abdi is the president and co-founder of Iskaashi, an initiative to work with communities to help them navigate making real change in the realm of policy; the principal consultant of Synergy, a community engagement and consulting business; and a member of the Metropolitan Council Equity Advisory Committee and the American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa Board.

Abdi shared the struggles she endured on Luther’s campus as a Black Muslim woman during her lecture. She expressed her gratitude toward College Ministries, student organizations that she was involved with, and the supportive personnel who helped her stay focused on her goals and success.

Once Abdi finished introducing her experiences and line of work, she opened the floor to questions from the audience. In response to questions, Abdi discussed the opportunities available after Luther for a women and gender studies major, general advice to students at Luther, and the challenges of starting a social activist business. This included discussing imposter syndrome, a term describing when people feel as though they don’t deserve the position they are in. Abdi enjoys going to various college campuses to inform young people of what they are capable of doing.

“I love speaking to young people because I wanted that desperately when I was a student,” Abdi said. “To hear, you know, like, ‘What is it like when I’m done here?’ ‘How easy would it be for me to find a job and [go] back to school?’”

Attendee Nora Nyi Myint (‘22) felt reassured in her choice of studies as a women and gender studies major after listening to Abdi’s lecture on Wednesday.

“[Abdi’s testimonials] are proof of what Luther can do for their students, and I find it very like inspiring and reassuring because it tells you this is a path that could be right for you,” Nyi Myint said. “I feel more realistic, like you can now start to have that preparation and that’s more important, so it’s very grounding yet inspiring for people like me.”

According to Professor of Sociology Char Kunkel, Abdi was an active member of the Luther community during her time on campus, over ten years ago. She was involved in various groups and organizations across campus, consistently taking on progressive leadership roles. In her senior year at Luther, Abdi served as the president for the student body, BSU, and the Muslim Student Association and Allies.

“She was a fabulous student,” Kunkel said. “If there was an issue, Kadra was there. She’s just grown and developed and matured in that, being a voice for equity and social justice”

Professor of Religion Robert Shedinger commented on how Abdi’s success came as no surprise to those who knew her as a student at Luther.

“I assumed she would be involved in some kind of work similar to what she’s doing, some type of advocacy work,” Shedinger said. “That wasn’t hard to see.”

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