Center Spotlight: Hannah Ward

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Hannah Ward

Age: 20

Hometown: Sanford, Florida

Year: Junior

Major: English Literature

Confidence is key.

Orientation Leader and MLS Student Coordinator Hannah Ward finds her passion in helping others figure that out too.

As her first involvement with the center, Ward was the marketing student coordinator for the Multicultural Leadership Summit, which focuses on building knowledge about identities and enhances student success in leadership.

“I really enjoyed picking presentations and topics,” she said. “Especially because there are a lot of places where I have privilege that I didn't realize, so learning from people who don’t have that same privilege as me was really cool.”

As a team leader this year for orientation, Ward credits her involvement to a lot of her growth.

“When I first became an orientation leader, I had about 2 percent confidence in myself,” she said, “and then having to force myself to know all the information and speaking in front of everyone really boosted my confidence.”

Once orientation is over, Ward said, she wants to continue to motivate others to love themselves and have confidence by getting involved with Student Government and PeaceJam.

Ward also volunteered with the center’s Youth Programs, mentoring two English language learners at Riley Elementary School.

“Watching the growth of them just learning how to read was really cool,” she said. “That helps me realize that small things make a difference, and me just reading a book with them helped them learn how to read books on their own.”

Humbled through her learning experiences, Ward said that the center opened her eyes to a lot of things she thought she already knew.

“Coming from a low-income and biracial family, I thought I knew everything that I needed to know about diversity, but I didn’t,” she said. “There’s so much intersectionality and so many different kinds of people, so I think the center really opened my eyes to learning about others.”

Also a member of the Garnet & Gold Key, Ward says she joined for the networking opportunities that it offers.

“While working with MLS, I didn't have a lot of connections with organizations or their presidents, and I didn't like that so to help MLS expand and get those connections through, Garnet & Gold Key was important,” she said.

Ward hopes to attend law school after graduation. Coming from a household with divorced parents, Ward plans to focus on divorce law and work with children who are affected by the court system. She is also interested in being a public defender for those who cannot afford lawyers.

— Fabuola Pierre