Hasna Syed is one of our Political Science alumni that continuously gives back to the community. See below for our alumni spotlight on some of the wonderful work that she’s been up to, her experience at UTSC and her advice for current undergraduate students.
Why did you choose UTSC?
I chose UTSC because of it’s strong reputation for academics and sense of community. I was fortunate to have a great set of Professor-mentors throughout my years there who encouraged my interests in politics, international development, and policy work.
The university had a great network of resources and support that enabled me to present research papers, attend conferences, and host successful events to educate my peers and the community on local and international issues.
What advice to you have for current and prospective students?
Enjoy the ride. 4 years of undergrad will fly by. Take the time to learn and think critically about your studies, and definitely get involved with a campus club! During my time in undergrad, I started a non-profit organization with my siblings called Global Youth Impact and lead the chapter at UTSC as well as the Political Science Students Association. Both groups did a lot of meaningful work and I think are great ways for students to have a platform to contribute to initiatives that are important on and off campus.
How was your experience in graduate school?
I loved grad school. Living in London was such a wonderful experience and studying at the LSE expanded my foundational knowledge in a variety of research areas within politics, philosophy, international development, and the law. It was a rewarding experience to volunteer for international organizations in the heart of the city while studying, as well as complete my thesis at the end of it all!
What were your biggest takeaways from your time at the London School of Economics?
The opportunity to meet students and faculty from all over the world helped shape the ways in which I apply my advocacy and exchange ideas. I very much enjoyed the international experience and getting to attend special guest lectures from UN Special Rapporteurs to ICC Judges to Prime Ministers. It was a great reminder of the “bigger picture” and the impact we can and do have when people come together.
What motivated you to apply for law school?
I’ve always known I wanted a career doing something where I can be an advocate and have a positive impact. After grad school I was given an offer to work with the UN. It was a meaningful and purposeful way to see how my education can be applied to “real world” issues while at the same time respecting and acknowledging the lived experiences of people genuinely suffering from different societal conditions, who are unable to advocate for themselves. It challenged me to look at my position and reflect on what kind of career would enable me to do meaningful work.
What tips do you have for applying to law school?
Stay focused. Talk to people who are in law school or have graduated or just simply inspire you! Different people will provide you with different tips and it can give you a better perspective on what works best for you. At the end of the day, enjoy the process and what you learn from it.
What are you enjoying learning there right now?
I’ve had a fantastic blend of experiences while in law school, which has included competing in the International Insolvency Law Moot and taking a range of interesting legal courses.
I’m in my last year now so it’s bitter-sweet. I’m excited to finish up but I am already nostalgic about all the memories I’ve made so far with my friends in school and in Vancouver.
Tell us a little more about your work with your siblings and the Global Youth Impact.
Motivated by all the growing social movements across the world today in addition to the ongoing pandemic that continues to take its toll, my siblings and I got together to create this song. We Are The Voices was written as an “anthem” to give hope and inspire generations to come together.
Hasna (far right) and her siblings performing live on stage at the World Championships of Performing Arts in LA where they represented Team Canada and won Gold!
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