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ICFNJ Profiles Gineen K. Abuali ’21

Gineen K. Abuali ’21, recipient of the PNC Barry Gillman Memorial Scholarship for Humanitarian Service 2019-20, was recently profiled by the Independent College Fund of New Jersey (ICFNJ) in the organization’s Annual Report, a yearly publication designed to share stories of student and program success. The profile is below, but the complete report can be found on ICFNJ’s website.

“As a history and political science major at Saint Peter’s University, I am passionate about expanding my horizons. In my classes, I ask hard and challenging questions that get to the core of issues. I ask these questions because I believe they will better our understanding of the world by helping us to improve it.

While at Saint Peter’s, I’ve learned that some students do not have access to healthcare. Many students, including me, have concerns about how to pay for college. Through several internships, I have seen how these issues manifest themselves on a larger scale in our society. I interned with an organization called Dress for Success, which helps men and women find professional clothing and learn workplace skills. There, I came across many single mothers who were escaping terrible situations or going into the workforce for the first time. Their stories inspired me; they made me determined to do well in school so that one day I could give back. They lifted me up with their words of encouragement.

During another internship, with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, I saw how the law is used to solve issues faced by communities. The senator’s staff would take note of common issues that arose, and they would work to find solutions to bring to the senator’s attention.

Abuali was also selected as one of the first Fox Scholars for the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership at Saint Peter’s University. She is pictured here (left) with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and another Fox Scholar Barbara Bazemore ’20 at the FY2021 Budget Address.

These experiences have strengthened my commitment to become an attorney. I want to use the law to be a helping hand and resource to my community. In my life, so many different people have helped me move forward and I believe it is only right to do the same for others. I would not be where I am without my family, peers and professors who have lifted me up, supported me and given me access to new opportunities. Through law, I can continue this cycle by making sure that the policies enacted on our behalf lift us all up and give us access to success. When I graduate, I want to be able to call myself a global citizen who is doing everything in my power to improve the world around me.”

According to David Surrey, Ph.D., professor of sociology and anthropology at Saint Peter’s University, “I have been working with student groups for more than 30 years. There have been many great leaders. However, I can say without hesitation that Gineen Abuali is by far the most outstanding student leader I have met and one of the best people I have had the pleasure to work with. Gineen’s leadership as president of the Muslim Student Association—which in itself is internally diverse—has taken a group that had been dormant to undoubtedly the most impactful student group on campus. I will never forget her speech to the campus community after the shootings in New Zealand. She taught us about forgiveness and love rather than hate or fear. It was by far the most moving student speech I have ever heard.”