After four years at the University of New Mexico studying international studies and political science, Suha Musa is anxiously awaiting her May 14 graduation. Musa’s mark on the University, specifically regarding the securing of financial assistance for New Mexico residents, will not be forgotten as she moves forward with a career in political media.
Musa is already set to work as the communications manager for the New Mexico State Ethics Commission for a year following her graduation, and afterwards she hopes to continue her studies in political media with a master’s degree either at UNM or elsewhere.
Musa joined the World Affairs Delegation and the Associated Students of UNM her freshman year and credits the organizations for a great deal of her political involvement in college. Though she initially joined to explore her interests, she said she always knew she would work in politics and it was only a matter of figuring out where within the political world she hoped to land.
“(ASUNM’s) biggest priority for as long as it’s been around has been the lottery scholarship,” Musa said. “What’s been really different about this year, I guess, is that we were able to secure it for five years rather than a one-year cycle as has been done in the past.”
In 2021, Musa was part of a group that lobbied to secure more than $200 million in scholarship money for New Mexico residents to attend both two- and four-year universities throughout the state. The group worked with New Mexico’s secretary of education, as well as the governor’s office, through the winter.
“That’s been the coolest thing I’ve been able to do politically since I’ve been here at UNM,” Musa said. “There’s been a lot more student support that hasn’t necessarily been seen, so being able to voice the concerns of the students to legislators, to the governor, to the secretary of higher education, has been a really cool privilege.”
Maya Pacheco, a first-year student majoring in film and minoring in women studies and Chicana studies, said that she takes inspiration from Musa and appreciates the work she’s done for people across New Mexico.
Though Pacheco is currently, as a California resident, unable to reap the benefits of the funds Suha participated in making available, she appreciates the movement toward universal free college.
“I appreciate everything that she’s done and can’t wait to see what else she does,” Pacheco said.
When Musa entered college, she was determined to explore her interests more than she had in high school. Musa burst right from her shell into the ASUNM office where she served two terms as a senator, one term as an appointments and outreach chair, one semester as president pro tempore and her entire senior year as the director of governmental affairs.
“I had like a bucket list in high school of things that I wanted to do, and I realized by the end that I hadn’t really done them. And so, in college, once I got here I thought, ‘Oh, maybe this is the time when I branch out and try things and find out what it is I truly want to do,’” Musa said. “And UNM’s been a really great place to explore that … I guess experimental has been the word of my college experience.”
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After four years, Musa expressed gratitude for the experiences she’s had and the knowledge she’s garnered from UNM.
“I’d just like to thank UNM,” Musa said. “I think valuing the diversity and inclusion efforts led by students at UNM has been really admirable.”
Natalie Jude is the culture editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached on Twitter @nataloroni or at email@example.com