Congratulations Sarah Kawamleh, the 2020 P.J. and Hilda W. Hill Award recipient. The P. J. and Hilda W. Hill Award was established from a gift from P. J. Hill, a 1920 graduate of Indiana University. The $5000 award is presented to the outstanding senior on the IU Bloomington campus who has done the most to “better race relationships on the IU campus” during his or her undergraduate career. This year’s honoree’s commitment to diversity and inclusion here at Indiana University included her leadership and service as the vice president for the Middle Eastern Student Association, Social Justice Chair for the Muslim Student Association and the founder and director of the IU Free Speech Coalition.
Her commitment to representing diversity of Islam through the Muslim Student Association included hosting “World Hijab Day” where Muslim women are given a platform to discuss their experiences and struggles while wearing a hijab at IU as well hosting “Ask a Muslim” events where non-Muslims meet and converse with Muslims of different backgrounds. As Vice President of the Middle Eastern Student Association, she planned a “Tabbouleh Night” where IU students learned how to make a popular Levantine salad as well as organized the Middle East booth at the IU World’s Fair. As the founder and director of the IU Free Speech Coalition, Sarah focused on coalition building to strengthen communication lines between minority organizations at IU.
Advocacy outside of IU
Her commitment to diversity and inclusion continued in her work off-campus. While studying abroad in Germany, Sarah conducted fieldwork in refugee communities. She also served an immigration interpreter for the Bloomington Refugee Support Network and a Policy and Advocacy Intern for the Muslim Public Affairs Council during a summer internship experience in Washington, DC
Sarah had many family members and mentors who helped and supported her along her journey at IU. She said, “I would like to thank my parents, Abdul Kawamleh and Khouloud Kawamleh, for their unwavering support during my undergraduate experience at IU. I would also like to thank my gifted mentors, John Karaagac, Abdulkader Sinno, and Stephen Macekura, for engaging my curiosity and pouring their time, spirit, and wisdom into my academic success. Finally, I would like to thank my older sister, Suzanne Kawamleh, for always encouraging me to become the best version of myself.”
Sarah is earning a Bachelor of Science in International Studies and a Certificate in Applied Research and Inquiry and plans to intern on Capitol Hill this fall before attending law school in the fall of 2021.