(L to R): Kevin Xiong ’18, Tasneem Issa ’18, Miranda Harris ’18

It’s a point of pride that Macalester was among the first colleges in the nation to fly the flag of the United Nations. The college’s historic devotion to global understanding lives on in its abiding commitment to global citizenship.

Each year several students are presented with Global Citizenship Student Awards in recognition of their ongoing journeys dedicated to the ideals and practice of high academic performance, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement.

This year three seniors—Tasneem Issa, Miranda Harris, and Kevin Xiong—were chosen for the honor and asked to speak at the Institute for Global Citizenship’s Celebration of Global Citizens on April 18.

Tasneem Issa ’18 (Minneapolis, Minn.) is a biology major with an emphasis in neurobiology, who has also picked up minors in chemistry and data science, and a concentration in community and global health. While at Macalester, Issa has been a participant on the Multifaith Council, been appointed to the college’s Strategic Planning Committee, served as president of the Muslim Student Association, worked as the health and wellness issue-based organizer for the Civic Engagement Center, and conducted autism research—a subject of personal passion given the high rates of autism in Somali children and her own Somali heritage—at the University of Minnesota where she’s also been able to help share that research with the local community. Says Issa, “My plan for the future is to continue to contribute professionally through a career in medicine and to mentor future generations, so the knowledge reaches the individuals who tend to miss out.”

Miranda Harris ’18 (Delray Beach, Fla.) is a biology major in Macalester’s pre-medicine track who also minors in French. In her four years at Macalester, Harris has conducted lab research, traveled to Ecuador to interview rural villagers about their experience with chikungunya virus, mentored first-year students as a writing assistant, produced a documentary about artists along the U.S.-Mexico border, and collaborated with Professor Devavani Chatterjea to incorporate dance movements into biology lessons to promote better understanding of cell movement. “I believe global citizenship is about continually challenging borders,” she says. “It’s about questioning what is known. The women who came before me—my grandmother and my mother especially—have consistently crossed these artistic and academic borders, and I follow that line.”

Kevin Xiong ’18 (Minneapolis, Minn.) majors in both American studies and educational studies. A first-generation college student himself, Xiong has been committed to expanding access to education since he first set foot on Macalester’s campus, working as the college access coordinator in the Civic Engagement Center, volunteering with the Hmong American Partnership’s before-school reading program, tutoring middle schoolers in the St. Paul Public School system, and joining Breakthrough Twin Cities as a teaching fellow, intern supervisor, and mentor to high schoolers. “I think when people think of global citizenship, they think abroad,” says Xiong. “But for me, I think of it in terms of, how can we solve global issues like education accessibility in a local context? My dream is to become a school counselor in an urban area to keep practicing reciprocity and learning from students.”

April 6 2018

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