Hayat Sumael is from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but she was born in Cairo, Egypt, and moved to the United States with her family when she was 3 years old. As a child, Sumael (’22 criminal justice studies, political science) recalls her mother not voting in elections because she wasn’t a United States citizen. But even after she achieved citizenship, Sumael said her mother still didn’t exercise her right to vote because she thought it was pointless.
Sumael sees things differently.
“I am excited to be able to be a citizen and to vote and to make my voice heard,” she said.
That excitement, plus urging from a friend, inspired Sumael to join Iowa State’s chapter of Vote Everywhere, a student organization connected to the Andrew Goodman Foundation, that encourages people, especially minorities, to register to vote and participate in civic activities. Today, Sumael is president of Vote Everywhere and doing her part to get the campus community civically engaged.
Sumael’s involvement in Vote Everywhere is a natural extension of her majors in criminal justice studies and political science, both of which have inspired her to be a champion for those who have difficulty representing themselves.
“I love being involved in conversations that include people of minorities and administrators, and just being able to find ways to critically think and put myself in others’ shoes,” Sumael said. “I love being a voice for people who do not feel like they have one, or who do not feel comfortable speaking out about what they believe in.”
Only a sophomore, Sumael has a clear career path following graduation from Iowa State in 2022. She will pursue a law degree, hopefully in New York City, and eventually become a child’s advocate attorney. Running for the U.S. Senate isn’t out of the question.
“I have always been passionate about helping kids, and I wanted to be a pediatrician, but in my heart that was not enough for me,” Sumael said. “I want to implement policies, advocate and fight for the little ones who we tend to overlook, but yet we still call them our future. I know that if children are our future, we need to actually care about them as politicians, attorneys and people.”
In addition to Vote Everywhere, Sumael is involved with Student Government, the Civic Engagement Committee, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, United Residents Off-Campus, Student Union Board and Cyclone Cinema.