Maryam Sarhan, a sophomore at Stockton University, has spent her time here finding her passion for human rights and international affairs. This led her to switch her major from Biology to Political Science, with a concentration in pre-law and a minor in International Studies. Born in Egypt, Sarhan currently lives in Somers Point.
She attributes her achievements to the motivation her parents provided her. Having immigrated to the United States, she notes how her parents’ focus and ability to follow their dream has been passed down to her, as her parents continue to encourage her and let her know nothing is unattainable.
Sarhan holds the positions of Student Senator and Student Trustee Alternate on Stockton’s Board of Trustees. As a Student Senator, Sarhan works with students of all backgrounds and majors, providing her with a dynamic perspective of students at Stockton. This allows her to better understand a student’s or fellow Student Senator’s situation and help resolve it. As part of Senate, she listens to the needs of students and helps guide them toward attaining their wants and needs.
In Student Senate, Sarhan serves on the Government Affairs committee, allowing her to follow statewide policies affecting students. As part of the committee, Sarhan founded Higher Education Awareness Week.
“A commitment to educate and promote awareness about higher education affordability and accessibility, financial literacy and careers and opportunities in higher education and student affairs,” Sarhan said about the event.
Her responsibilities and views expanded when she became a Student Trustee Alternate. As a Trustee, it is not just students but the entire University including faculty and staff that must be considered. This means being involved with decisions relating to the growth and sustainability of the University.
Being a Student Senator and Student Trustee Alternate has changed the way Sarhan views Stockton. Through experience, she now sees how all of the departments work together for the success of students. Knowing how the staff and faculty members impact students’ lives is what Sarhan views as the “Stockton experience.”
Sarhan’s involvement at Stockton reflects her passion for human rights, humanitarian issues, international development and international affairs. Complementing her international interests, she has interests in culture, language, history and traveling. This is reflected in additional organizations she is involved with at Stockton. She is Vice President of the African Student Organization, which allows Sarhan to promote awareness of the diversity and beauty of the African continent.
Sarhan is an active member of Stockton Model United Nations, where she previously served as a Nigerian delegate on the Security Council.
“During our upcoming conference in New York I will serve as one of the head delegates where my delegation and I will represent Chad,” said Sarhan.
Sarhan also is a student representative on the National Coalition Building Institute Leadership Team. As a representative, she utilizes the different perspectives on students she has gained by being on Student Senate, along with her own views, to provide a wider student perspective on issues regarding diversity, social equity and inclusion.
Last January, as World Hijab Day Ambassador for New Jersey, Sarhan organized the first World Hijab Day at Stockton. “I brought students and professionals to speak about their narratives as Muslim American women. The panel elegantly highlighted the unique dynamics and perspectives of women who choose to cover, identify as feminists and feel they are liberated, empowered and symbols of resistance,” Sarhan explained.
Outside of the University, Sarhan is a student representative for Atlantic County’s Advisory Commission on Women. “Working with the commissioners, I advocate on behalf of women and girls by providing venues that promote equality, knowledge, and opportunities,” Sarhan said about her role on the commission.
Sarhan’s interest in international affairs and human rights do not stop at Stockton. Her ultimate goal is to work for the U.S. Department of State and become the Secretary of State. Having experience from two distinct cultures as an Arab American, she hopes to ensure international peace and security through meaningful dialogue. Her time on the Model U.N. helped show her the large variety of positive and negative challenges the world faces.
Looking at her time at Stockton, Sarhan notes the support and encouragement she received from President Saatkamp, Peter Baratta, Brian Jackson, Carole LoBue, Dianne Stalling and Trish Collins: “I am genuinely grateful, humbled and honored to have them as my mentors.”
“I am grateful to Stockton for encouraging me to be an active member of society and how dreams can transform into visions with hard work and dedication. Empowerment and perseverance are the keys to an informed and powerful civil society. Always be persistent in your passions and aspirations,” Sarhan said about her time at Stockton University.