Voices of Drake: Ruwayda Egal

This Q&A is part of the story series Voices of Drake that highlights the diversity, ambition, and passion of the incredible people who make up our campus community. In recognition and celebration of Black History Month, we will be sharing a collection of interviews to spotlight Black voices in our community. This week’s story introduces Drake senior and Student Body President Ruwayda Egal, who is double majoring in Spanish and Law, Politics, and Society, and minoring in International Relations.

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Ruwayda Egal. I am a senior from Saint Paul, Minnesota, studying Law, Politics, and Society, and Spanish with a minor in International Relations.

What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month is a month of joy and remembrance. In this month, we remember the triumphs and struggles that Black Americans face every day in this country. This month is a month for me to learn more about my heritage and amplify the voices of Black and Brown people not only in Drake but the Des Moines community.

Why did you choose to attend Drake?
I choose to attend Drake University because of the consistent resources available to me. In the LPS department, I have found the best professors who have constantly been there to help me with my undergraduate degree and give me the resources available to continue my studies in Law.

What is your favorite thing about Drake?
My favorite thing about Drake has been the small school environment and my LPS professors. They have made every class interesting and allowed me to grow my love for learning.

In what ways have you grown since coming to Drake?
In my first year at Drake, I was very shy and unable to have prominent conversations. My roles in Student Senate have not only made me a better leader but a better communicator. In a professional setting, I have much more confidence in my speaking abilities, and in a personal setting, I have learned to speak up for myself.

What do you hope to do after you graduate?
After graduation, I hope to attend Law school to continue my studies.

Who have been important mentors to you during your time at Drake?
I have met a lot of important people during my time at Drake. From the entire LPS department to administrators such as Dean Clayborne, Jerry Parker, and Melissa Sturm-Smith. They have all helped me become the person I am today.

Are you involved in any student organizations, groups, or community service work? Tell us about those experiences.
At Drake, I currently serve as the Student Body President and the Vice President of the African Caribbean Student Association. During my last four years, I have been a part of Student Senate, SAB, ACSA, Adams Leadership Institute, PMAC, and a Peer Mentor for Blueprint for Success.

What do you hope is accomplished during this month of celebration and recognition?
I hope to read more books made by Black women and learn more about black feminism. I also hope this month is filled with constant Black joy.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life, and what lessons did that person teach you?
My biggest influence in my life has been my older sister. She has taught me the importance of my time and space. Through her, I have learned a lot about the person I want to be.

How do you like to spend your free time? Tell us about your hobbies and interests.
I enjoy reading, being with friends and family, going to the movies, listening to music, and doing crafts.

What advice would you give to a student coming to Drake?
Take it day by day. Your best days are yet to come!