Awista Ayub is proof that combining ambition and skills gained at UR can take you far. A native of Kabul, Afghanistan, raised in Connecticut and currently living in Washington, D.C., Awista has seen many facets of life.

After graduating in 2001, she went to work for the Embassy of Afghanistan as the Education and Health Officer. She recently founded an organization for youth in Afghanistan and works every day to improve the lives of people all over the world.

Can you describe your current projects and endeavors?

“In 2004, I founded the Afghan Youth Sports Exchange, a non-profit dedicated to preparing Afghanistan’s youth with leadership skills required to promote athletics into their schools and communities.

I traveled to Afghanistan for the first time since leaving at the age of two to lead girls’ soccer clinics through the Afghanistan Olympic Committee.

Two girls from the program were awarded the 2006 Arthur Ashe Courage Award this past July from ESPN.”

Are you doing what you planned to do after you left UR, or is it something completely different?

“I am doing something completely different from what I planned after graduating from UR. I majored in chemistry and had a career as a research chemist working for General Electric, but left that path in order to follow my passion and work to help the children of Afghanistan using sports as a tool for social change.”

Was there any particular activity or campus organization that you were deeply involved with at UR?

“I was heavily involved with the Women’s Ice Hockey team, having founded the team during the spring of my sophomore year. I played as the goalie for three seasons on the team. I didn’t know how to play, let alone skate, when I founded the team, but learned to skate and play with great friends and teammates.

I learned a lot about my own personal strengths and weaknesses from this experience and know that my time with the team has shaped me into the person that I am today and has given me the confidence to start AYSE and pursue my personal passion professionally.”?

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What advice could you give current UR students?

“Looking back, the only piece of advice I would give is don’t be afraid to dream, follow your heart and believe in yourself. It’s not always easy to do this, but if you believe in yourself and what you are hoping to accomplish, you will always be successful and reach farther than you ever thought possible.”

Myers can be reached at smyers@campustimes.org.



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