Undergraduate Batool Ibrahim is the inaugural recipient of the Young Leader Award, part of Lincoln Journal Star's Inspire Awards, which annually recognizes the achievements of local women.
The Young Leader's Award category honors exceptional contributions in school activities, local community and philanthropy, or girls groups over the past year. Recipients have a strong sense of self, a success-driven work ethic, and great career aspirations.
Majoring in political science and global studies, Ibrahim is president of both ASUN Student Government and the Black Student Union and serves as a student Regent. She also helped launch the BSU Care Bags program for the Lincoln community.
"Batool serves as a mentor to others through her words, actions, and examples of the work that she does in the classroom, on campus, and throughout the community," her nominator wrote, according to emcee Deanna Waltz. "Students have shared with me that Batool's passion, empathy, dedication, commitment, confidence, and leadership have inspired them to also work towards making a positive difference in the lives of others, empowering those from marginalized populations and becoming agents of change for the twenty-first century and beyond."
Ibrahim said the award means a lot to her. She grew up in Lincoln and now attends the university, her "first love ever."
"It was at UNL that I understood that, while I was oftentimes the only person of color entering many classrooms, the only person of color entering any type of space, that I could not only open the door for people, but to break down the wall and make sure that those that could come after me, that they felt comfortable and understood that this space was ours," she said at the event. "It was at UNL that I found amazing, phenomenal women who helped me understand each and every single day what it means to be a leader, what it means to be an advocate, and what it means to listen to my community, and those principles are principles that I've tried to flourish and understand every single day that I lead."
She recognized several women who had made an impact for her, including her mother, who "traveled across the Pacific Ocean to give me her American dream."
"My legacy, hopefully, I'm reminded every day that I'm standing on the backs and the shoulders of giants, of women, of Black women who have paved the way for me, and who have made me understand that I am revolutionary and that I can be a revolutionary," she said.
The Journal Star's 14-member Inspire Advisory Board reviewed hundreds of nominations submitted by the public and narrowed them down to five candidates in each category.
Attending the Inspire Awards and I am leaving here inspired by so many women leading efforts across communities and sectors. So many well-deserving award recipients, including UNL's own student govt. president, Batool Ibrahim! #InspireLNK pic.twitter.com/Rl4eRO1pHT— Nkenge Friday, Ed.D. (@Dr_NFriday) September 21, 2021
And, @UNLincoln @ASUN_UNL student body president Batool Ibrahim received the Young Leaders Award. A well-deserved honor for a young woman who inspires her fellow students and all those who have the opportunity to work with her. A proud day for our university! pic.twitter.com/EyfdxWWog1— Ted Carter (@UofNE_President) September 21, 2021