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Sohail with Chancellor Paydar receiving a Top 100 award

Sohail with Chancellor Paydar receiving a Top 100 award

United way opens up a world of career possibilities for chemistry student

Amna Sohail | Chemistry, Undergraduate | Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology Working with United Way at IUPUI has opened up a world of possibilities for Amna Sohail.

It has also opened her eyes to the opportunity to make a difference in the lives, the health and even the dreams of people she meets.

Sohail was part of an IUPUI contingent helping a community in Panama through Global Medical Brigades in summer 2015. For Sohail, being part of IUPUI’s Student United Way effort has unveiled new career choices for the Pakistan native to consider: a career in health care or social entrepreneurship, and a world that includes hands-on helping others in places like Panama.

Sohail's growing role in Student United Way on campus has earned her nationwide notice as well. The national Student United Way Global Leadership Board named Sohail the vice president and chair of social advocacy.

That is part of what has made this an exciting time for the School of Science junior, who is majoring in chemistry with minors in Spanish and mathematics.

"Last fall, I became intrigued with becoming part of an effort to advocate for issues that IUPUI students face in health, income and education," Sohail said. That fascination led her to the chairmanship of the health-issues committee and an opportunity to plan a poverty simulation and tax-assistance workshops for college students, to help them develop the skills incorporated in a familiar United Way phrase: Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United. It's meaningful to Sohail.

Sohail's United Way experiences and her volunteer work in Panama have given her new career possibilities to consider.

"Our connection to United Way of Central Indiana has allowed me to take part in the 'Leading Change: Ending Poverty Series,'" Sohail said. "That experience helped me understand the barriers people face in Central Indiana, and what work local agencies can do to overcome those barriers. That's why the giving we all do on campus is important."

That work strengthened her interest in a career focusing on access to health care, education and financial stability. She is planning to earn a dual M.D./MBA degree, and the Sam H. Jones Community Scholar is the co-president of the Global Medical Brigades student organization at IUPUI. That connection took her and fellow IUPUI students to Panama last summer to help provide medical and dental supplies and services to more than 600 people in a community in that nation. She hopes to return to Panama in summer 2016.

"My involvement with United Way and Student United Way has motivated me to become a civic-minded graduate, a global citizen," Sohail said. "And it all started with getting involved in our campus effort."

-Ric Burrous

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