UMD pharmacy student elected AISES national student representative
UMD pharmacy student Steven Just was recently elected as the national student representative for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) at the AISES National Student Caucus. AISES is a national nonprofit organization that focuses on increasing representation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and other indigenous North American populations in STEM fields. Just has been involved with AISES since his undergraduate career in 2010.
“I got a good understanding for what AISES was doing at the college to help me as an American Indian student and how I could work with others to do different things like community service, finding scholarships, and finding internships,” Just said. “As college students we could act as mentors to young kids, so we would go into the community and do some fun activities to get the kids interested in those STEM fields.”
Just has been interested in running for the national student representative position at AISES since he first became involved with the organization in 2010, but he said that he finally felt prepared to run for the position this year.
“It’s really fulfilling because I’ve spent seven years of my life working towards these goals in various capacities and now it’s like I’ve kind of been recognized for the work I’ve done over the years,” Just said. “My peers, other American Indian students and professionals, they trust me to represent them and to advance the AISES mission over the next two years, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”
Just’s role will be to communicate with the AISES regional representatives and the board of directors about issues that American Indian students are facing across the country, along with being the national representative of the student body. One of his main goals is to increase the focus on health sciences within AISES.
“As national student representative over the next two years, I would just like to continue to see AISES grow and kind of expand more into the health sciences,” Just said. “AISES has been doing good to expand but they’re very heavy on engineering, so I like the idea of getting more health science representation within that organization.”
After he graduates from pharmacy school, Just has plans to practice pharmacy for the American Indian community. He also hopes to use his experience to continue to serve AISES and other organizations that share the same mission.
“Once I become a professional pharmacist, I’ll likely work in that area, like the Indian Health Service, and I’ll likely become a pharmacist there and practice for a number of years,” Just said. “I’d also like to eventually serve on the board of directors for AISES or other organizations and work myself up to those administrative roles where I can use my years of experience to give back.”
Members of AISES at UMD will host a kick off meeting on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 11:30 a.m. in the Multicultural Center.