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Arturo Minera
Advancing racial equity is Mohamed Omar’s greatest passion, and the Northern Kentucky University junior’s resume can attest to that. Mohamed, a journalism major with plans to get a law degree, is a member of the Student Government Association and is the student advocacy and rights chairman of the organization. But the first-generation college student isn’t just getting his degree to help strangers either.

“Being a first-generation college student, I constantly have to remind myself that I am not only doing this for myself but for my parents and siblings,” he says.

Mohamed was born and raised in Portland, Maine, a city he holds immense love for and help molded him into the man he is today. Mohamed grew up around many different cultures and identities. The high school he attended was an expeditionary learning school that is heavily centered around allowing students to take education into their own hands.

“This type of learning allowed me to step out of my comfort zone. If it wasn’t for the high school I attended I don’t think I would be the person I am today,” he says.

"It is a time where we not only celebrate the great work of those who came before us but also recognize what other Black people in our present time have and are achieving."

Following graduation, Mohamed wasn’t looking to attend a large university, but after doing research on NKU and visiting a few times, he slowly became attached to the campus.

“The relationships I have formed with administrators, faculty and staff are what kept me at NKU,” he says.

One of those staff members is Greg Moore, interim director of African American Student Initiatives.

“Mr. Moore has been the glue that brings the Black community together at NKU. He has created a space for students to feel comfortable, and, most importantly, he genuinely cares about his students,” Mohamed says.

Mohamed said the importance of having African American Student Initiatives and programs under its direction, such as NKU R.O.C.K.S., on campus is imperative because it helps Black students. Mohamed himself is a mentor for NKU R.O.C.K.S.

“Being Black at a predominately white institution is not easy. AASI and NKU R.O.C.K.S. create a space for me as a Black student to feel comfortable. I am able to walk into the office and feel like my true self,” he says.

NKU R.O.C.K.S is designed to ease the academic, personal and social transition from high school to college through a summer institute and yearlong program. Mohamed said first-year college students will need to be prepared.

“Your collegiate experience will be a roller coaster with so many steep hills and sharp turns, just trust the process,” he says. “Never forget why you chose to pursue higher education, and let that be the force that pushes you through your undergraduate experience. Get involved, make connections and utilize all of your resources!”

While extremely engaged on campus, Mohamed makes sure to make time for himself too.

“Being very engaged and active on campus can be very draining. My free times are typically an opportunity for me to recharge. I do things such as clean my dorm, listen to music and go for a walk,” he says.

As Black History Month winds down, Mohamed said the month is a reminder that “Black is love” and has an undeniable unifying factor.

"It is a time where we not only celebrate the great work of those who came before us but also recognize what other Black people in our present time have and are achieving,” he says.