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WSHS senior explores path to public office through internshipship with Ohio representative

WSHS senior explores path to public office through internshipship with Ohio representative

Westerville South High School senior Nabiha Ilkaqor wanted to spend the summer learning whether her interest in public office was the right path.

It didn’t take long during her internship with Ohio Rep. Ismail Mohamed this summer for Ilkaqor to find her answer.

“The first day I walked into the office, I knew this was where I wanted to be and what I wanted to work with,” she said. “I’m very passionate about different ideas that come to mind, especially to my identity and different types of identities. So seeing that there were people in the office that didn’t just look like me but also represented my ideas, values and beliefs was super important.”

“I know I’m going to be there one day. It’s not an ‘I think;’ it’s an ‘I know’ now.” 

After submitting her resume to multiple lawmakers in hopes of landing an internship, Ilkaqor heard from Mohamed after he heard her spoken word performance at the Somali Independence Day celebration at the Ohio Statehouse last month.

She started her internship with Mohamed, who represents District 3 in Columbus, shortly afterwards and will continue working in his office at least twice a week through the end of the school year. The experience has given her a glimpse into the roles and responsibilities of a state representative and hearing first-hand from constituents about their concerns in their community. 

Ilkaqor credits Mohamed’s staff for being flexible with her schedule and connecting her with resources so she can make the most out of her internship. She is especially excited about the opportunity to observe a House Session.

“I’m taking in everything I can so I’m aware of every corner,” she said. 

In addition to her internship, Ilkaqor serves as senior class president and student president for the executive board of the Ohio Association of Student Leaders (OASL), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping middle and high school students foster leadership skills to make positive change in their schools and communities. She is a Hope Squad student leader and leads a student club, Power to Poets, which helps students — within and beyond WSHS — express themselves through poetry. 

  • Westerville City Schools
  • Westerville South High School

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