Nika Moeini: Outstanding Leader in the UBC Community 2017 Award Winner

Nika receiving the 2017 Award for “Outstanding Leader in the UBC Community” from Acting Dean of Arts Kathryn Harrison.

Hometown: Toronto
Program of Study: International Relations major, Commerce minor
UBC Affiliations and Awards:
Awards: Karen Furstand Top Individual Leader Award from UBC Sororities.
Affiliations: UBC Alma Mater Society, UBC Arts Undergraduate Society, UBC Residence Hall Association, Alpha Phi Omega UBC, Alpha Phi UBC, JumpStart, Imagine Day, Enactus UBC
Where can we connect with you? You can find me on LinkedIn, or @moeinika on social media. Also, check out Nika’s UBC Guide on Youtube!

What are some of the most meaningful experiences you’ve had at UBC?
My most meaningful experiences came from working with younger students new to campus. I was able to meet and mentor a variety of students in their UBC journeys through my work with the Residence Hall Association. As an orientation leader, I was able to share my own experiences and difficulties and instill confidence in new students. Having one student thank me for my support as a JumpStart leader, to him beginning his studies showed me how meaningful these leadership roles can be. After that, I strived to make each first-year student feel like they truly belong at UBC, so they could have a fun and successful experience here too! 

With a first-year student at the Place Vanier Olympics.

What’s an important life lesson that your involvement activities have taught you?
In my first year I was nervous about breaking free from the status quo of what a student leader should be. When I got rejected from certain leadership roles or programs that made a “typical” student leader at UBC, I felt like I wasn’t good enough. When my ideas were rejected, I was hesitant to speak out or to advocate for them. I wanted to conform and be liked by my peers, so I tried to fit into a mold, even though I felt I wasn’t pushing myself to do what I really wanted to accomplish.

An important life lesson I’ve learned is to persevere when things are rough, and to stop thinking about how others will judge you. Starting an APO chapter at UBC was difficult because the concept of a co-ed service fraternity was foreign to UBC and even to Canada. I felt like everyone would judge me, and a few people did, but at some point I realized people would judge me regardless, and I needed to follow my heart. The values of leadership, friendship, and service are core values of mine and I knew other students could benefit from a group like this. Going forward, I’m shameless about who I am and what my values are. I encourage all students to take this attitude to life and you’ll be much less stressed and much more happy just being yourself!

With fellow JumpStart Leaders.

You recently received a 2017 Outstanding Leader award. What do you think makes a great Arts student leader?
A great Arts student leader adds value to the community by being knowledgeable about UBC resources and experiences and sharing that knowledge with others. They should be proud to use and represent the various resources we have in Arts, like the Arts Undergraduate Society and the Arts Tri-Mentorship Program. They should give back to the community by volunteering to help other students get accustomed to UBC, and take advantage of everything UBC has to offer.

What are the top three things that every UBC Arts student should do before they graduate?
I think every UBC Arts student should find a group they’re passionate about (or start one!), take an opportunity to do a course or semester abroad, and make great connections with professors. You only get to be an undergraduate at UBC once, so make the most of it!

Presenting a workshop on the UN Sustainable Development Goals at the UBC Student Leadership Conference with fellow International Relations majors.

How did you choose your academic program of study?
In today’s complex world, the need for accurate and timely research in the field of International Relations is greater than ever. With new threats and challenges to the global world order, we need professionals with the right tools and knowledge to tackle these problems, and with more people educating and involving themselves in solutions. The mix of political science, economics, history, and commerce courses in my degree allowed me access to the best minds in the field and informed my understanding of the world in a way that inspires me action.

What’s next for you?
After graduation, I’ll be pursuing a Master of International Affairs with a focus in International Economic Policy in Canada’s capital. I’m excited to take what I’ve learned at UBC and apply it at my new school, the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa. Plans are already underway for the creation of APO’s Carleton chapter, which could be the second in Canada! I’m excited to start working on a few business ideas and spend the summer with my family and friends in Toronto and Vancouver.