Somalian-American student Munira Khalif (pictured) can add her name to the list of students who have been accepted to all eight Ivy League schools, according to Kare 11 News.
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Attending Mounds Park Academy in St. Paul, Minn., 17-year-old Khalif says the news of her prestigious acceptances caught her by “surprise.”
“I was very surprised. The best part for me was being able to call family members on the phone and to hear their excitement,” says Khalilf. “This was truly a blessing from God. To me, this news is reflective of the support and encouragement of my family, my school, and my community.”
However, what isn’t a surprise is why Harvard University, Yale University, Cornell University, Brown University, Columbia University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Dartmouth College have all accepted Khalif in to their institutions when one considers her exploits of the last four years.
While Khalif did indeed earn a “sky-high ACT score,” what really distinguishes her is her extracurricular activities.
She started the nonprofit Lighting the Way, which helps East African diaspora youth empower their counterparts in the Horn of Africa by making education accessible. The organization has raised about $30,000 to provide scholarships and tackle sanitation issues. An organization in Kenya donated $250,000 to help build a library in Somalia.
Khalif is also a global youth ambassador for A World At School, a campaign focused on ensuring universal education.
Khalif also founded a Social Consciousness Club, a platform for students to discuss domestic and international issues, such as hunger in America and foreign aid.
As a teen adviser for the U.N.’s Girl Up campaign, she mobilized young people in her community to send letters to Congress in support of legislation fighting against child marriage.
Khalif credits her parents relocating to America — after fleeing civil war in Somalia — as the chief reason activism has played such a central role in her life.
“Having parents who fled from civil war changes your entire perspective. That makes you realize the opportunities you have in the United States and use those to its fullest extent,” Khalif says.
In fact, her maternal grandfather’s insistence that Khalif’s mother and aunts were educated — when most Somali girls were not at the time — is another key inspiration.
“Because my mom was able to receive this gift of education, I felt I had an obligation to give this gift back,” Khalif says.
Of Khalif’s contributions to her school, community, and people, Mounds Park Academy Upper School Director Randy Comfort says, “Munira has thrived in MPA’s rigorous educational environment, where we challenge students to be intellectually curious and confident communicators.
“She already is making a difference in communities across the globe, and I know she is ready to embrace the challenges that arise in our constantly changing world.”
Khalif has until May 1st to make her decision and is “humbled” by the experience.
“I am humbled to even have the opportunity to choose among these schools because they are all incredible places to learn and grow,” says Khalif.
Khalif has also been accepted in to Stanford, Georgetown University, and the University of Minnesota.