Augsburg College, Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, 2015
North Hennepin Community College, 2013
Awale is the 2015 Jacobson Scholar, an honor awarded to the top scholarship recipient each year.
“Back in the refugee camp or in Nairobi, I could not have envisioned who I would become. I didn’t realize I’d have the power to create inclusive communities of support for people who are also marginalized and alone. In hindsight, my turbulent childhood kindled my intellectual growth while raising my level of social consciousness.”
Awale Osman was born in a Kenyan refugee camp after his family fled Somalia’s civil war of 1992. Two years later, his mother left him and his 12 siblings behind to work in the U.S. He didn’t see her for ten years. In Kenya, Awale found it painful to watch neighborhood children attend school because his family could not afford it.
Since immigrating to the United States in 2004 and reuniting with his mother, Awale has used his experience around education access to inform his volunteer work. He has been involved with the Minnesota Urban Debate League (MNUDL), Augsburg College’s Policy Debate Team, community college activism, and TRiO, which helps low-income and first-generation Americans enter college. He has also been an English tutor and a leader in the GLBTQIA community.
Awale is dedicated to creating peace and justice by focusing on traditionally underserved student populations. He led the Black Male Leadership Movement while a student at North Hennepin Community College (NHCC), an initiative to increase retention and persistence rates among young black males at the college. Under Awale’s leadership, the Movement boasted a 100% success rate for each of the 50 participants.
He graduated with honors in 2013 from North Hennepin Community College and graduated in 2015 from Augsburg College with a B.A. in Communication Studies and a minor in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. Awale’s goal is to earn a Doctorate of Philosophy in Intercultural Communication Studies to improve college degree attainment by working within the collegiate system.
“Awale is quite simply, one of the most fearless, passionate, and effective advocates of his age, that I have ever known… He has founded, created, and lead more genuinely effective programs in his short life, than most professionals do in their entire careers.” — Robert C. Groven, Director, Honors Program and Minnesota Urban Debate League and Associate Professor at Augsburg College