By Kasy Long
Jun 2, 2022
Bayan Samkari likes to stay busy. From her first day on Indiana State University’s campus, the senior nursing student knew she wanted to get involved in student organizations. Now, she has become a confident student leader who has made a significant impact on the Indiana State campus and in the Terre Haute community.
The Saudi Arabia native is president of the International Student Leadership Council, representing the concerns of international students on campus. She also has been a liaison for the University’s Honors Council, which involved a trip to the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis to discuss student matters with state legislators.
“This role [as President of the International Student Leadership Council] brings awareness and diverse opinions, a diverse mindset, and it’s a huge responsibility,” Samkari commented.
Samkari has also been involved in the Division of Student Affairs’ Student Advisory Board, Student Philanthropy Organization, Student Government Association, College of Health and Human Services’ Student Advisory Council, and Mental Health Fee Review Board. In these roles, she has advocated for student wellness on campus.
When she isn’t participating in campus groups, Samkari actively volunteers in the Terre Haute community. She participates in the Center for Community Engagement’s Sycamore Service Saturdays and also assists with the Wabash Valley’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Wabash Valley Road Runners events, and Goodwill Industries.
“People say, ‘You’re such a busy girl. How do you do it?’ I don’t know. I just do it. I have so much on my plate, but I have to prioritize [between her nursing education and other responsibilities] and pick and choose where I’m going and what I’m doing,” Samkari explained. “I have made friends [through these groups]. People know who I am.”
That was her plan when Samkari arrived at Indiana State in 2019 after participating in a study-abroad experience at Trent University [in Ontario, Canada]. She earned an English as a Second Language diploma at the Canadian university while also completing various nursing courses.
Upon arriving at Indiana State, Samkari knew that becoming involved in student organizations would help her succeed as a Sycamore.
Her involvement has included joining other students in such events as Give to Blue Day, Homecoming, career fairs, and the Honors Program picnic.
“You really live the college experience [at Indiana State] when you attend these activities and events,” commented Samkari, who described her social interactions with classmates as a “heartwarming experience” after the past two years of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
She has learned to appreciate Terre Haute and its small-city atmosphere that was a delightful contrast to her hometown of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The Red Sea port city has nearly four million residents.
“I now feel like I prefer a small town. There’s peace of mind in smaller cities. Bigger cities are so chaotic,” said Samkari.
Samkari will finish her nursing degree, with a minor in psychology, in Fall 2022. She has set a course to become a nurse practitioner, and her next step on that journey awaits in 2023.
Still, after years of active involvement in so many student groups, Samkari knows it will be difficult to say goodbye. She hopes the International Student Leadership Council will continue to have an active voice on Indiana State’s campus past her graduation. She encourages her peers to work with the Center for Global Engagement to recruit more international students.
Until her graduation, Samkari is enjoying her final months on campus with her peers and completing her nursing education. Several of her groups [including the Honors Council] have felt “like a home.”
“I don’t want to leave,” she said. “I have made more friends than I thought I would.”
Whether you find her advocating for international causes, volunteering in the community, or studying to become a healthcare professional, Samkari says she will proudly represent Indiana State everywhere she goes. And she’s always ready to lend a helping hand.