May 3, 2012
Serving for a better tomorrow: Graduating senior gains more than academics from university experience
Although Kansas State University's Ariel Anib, Olathe, will graduate cum laude this year with a bachelor's degree, a secondary degree and three minors, she has learned more than what's in textbooks.
Anib has immersed herself in serving others and fighting for equal privilege, while maintaining a 3.83 grade point average in sociology. She also has a secondary major in international studies and minors in Spanish, American ethnic studies and nonprofit leadership.
"When I got to college I started to understand the value of service," Anib said. "It changed my perspective. I realized it's not about the good feeling that I get when I help others, because that's even selfish. It's the idea that I have been given privilege in my life and there are people who haven't. It's more of a fight for equality."
Anib has helped others by being active in community service.
"A lot of times we don't ask questions about what the community needs; we look at the community and tell them what they need," Anib said. "I'm not just going to go to put in my time and then leave. I'm here to serve others the way they need it."
Anib has served in many volunteer programs during her four years at Kansas State University. In 2010 she was part of an International Service Team to Mexico, she assisted children with one-on-one tutoring at Ogden Elementary School and she volunteered at the Crisis Center of Manhattan, translating for Spanish-speaking victims of domestic violence. During the 2011 winter break she led an alternative break trip to Houston to help children of incarcerated parents.
"Ariel is an amazing young woman whose energy level is matched only by her intellectual capacity," said Anita Cortez, administrative director of the university's Developing Scholars Program. "She is bright and focused on how to have an impact for the betterment of society. I can hardly wait to see what she'll accomplish in another 10 years."
Anib's research through the Developing Scholars Program has given her a deeper understanding of death row inmates and human trafficking issues, such as sex trafficking and forced labor of smuggled immigrants. She has volunteered with the International Justice Mission, Hagar International and World Vision -- all international nonprofit organizations that provide support and services for victims and survivors of human trafficking. Her experiences with these organizations and her research on human trafficking led her to work on legislation that would prevent such issues.
"I've learned that the public's terminology of prostitution is skewed. People often think of it as a choice," Anib said. "When I was doing my internship with Mission Adelante in Kansas City, I'd see people on the corners and wonder, 'Why don’t get their lives together?' Then I realized that prostitution isn't an option for these women; it is forced. Often women try to get out of it but they go back because no one has created options for them. It follows the same cycle as domestic abuse."
Inspired by what she learned through her service and research on human trafficking, Anib organized the Stop Slavery Summit 2011, sponsored by K-Staters that Care, a committee she founded. The summit was a three-day event organized by more than 40 volunteers and with more than 200 people participating in the events.
"I have seen progress in awareness from when I first got here," Anib said. "This year I've seen more events about human trafficking and issues like that then my whole time at K-State, and it's been awesome to watch and see more students taking up the cause."
Most people who are trafficked come from low-income populations, Anib said. In August, she will work on preventing human trafficking by teaching English in Mexico. Providing equal access to education fights poverty and prevents human trafficking, she said. Although she is scheduled to be in Mexico for nine months, she is open to staying longer if she is needed.
"I told my parents that I'm going to Mexico with open hands and no plans," Anib said.
If Anib does come back to the United States, she plans to apply for either graduate school or law school at the University of Texas in Austin. While money is important, she doesn't want to forget about her overall purpose in life.
"I don't have this need for a monetary security blanket so I can sit on a bunch of money that I've got saved up for a rainy day. I want to be able to use my faith to fight for justice -- and that's it," Anib said.
Anib has earned many honors and awards for her work while at K-State, including the Dean of Student Life Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, Pat J. Bosco Outstanding Graduating Senior for the School of Leadership Studies, Truman Scholarship semifinalist, Commerce Bank Award for Enhancing Multiculturalism, K-State PROUD Hero Award and Wildcat Peace Award. She also is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi national honor societies, the university's Multicultural Student Honor Society and Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish honorary.
A 2008 graduate of Olathe East High School, Anib is the daughter of Rhonda Workcuff and Raymond Moses-Anib, both of Olathe.