December Grad Devotes Himself To Giving BackSamee Muhammad stepped through the doors of Trinity Community Ministries on a recent night expecting another routine community service project.
The next hour, volunteering at the nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless men return to their families and communities, changed his life.
“It was one of the most incredible, world-changing experiences I’ve ever been a part of,” said Muhammad, who graduates this month with a degree in psychology. “What goes on there is amazing. They’re changing lives every day and to be able to help in some small way means the world to me.”
Muhammad will be honored on stage at commencement Dec. 18 with the Nell Hamilton Trotter Student Leadership Award, which recognizes a graduate for his or her campus involvement and community service.
A native of Stone Mountain, Muhammad graduated from W.D. Mohammed High School in 2009. During his time at Georgia State, he was vice president of the Zeta Mu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity; was a member of the inaugural advisory board for The 1913 Society; served on the Student Judicial Board; participated in Lead Team leadership development program; was a Volunteer International Student Assistant Leader and was crowned the first Mr. International by the International Student Associations Council.
He estimates he has completed more than 500 hours of community service and volunteering.
“To me, it’s all about giving back to the community and to my university, both of which have provided me with such wonderful opportunities,” Muhammad said.
Days after Muhammad received word he had been selected for the highest student honor at Georgia State, he got another letter in the mail.
“I thank you for the dedication and service you have shown through your many hours of volunteering to help the residents of our state,” wrote U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), “ and I’m sure you will continue giving back to your community after graduation.”
After graduation, Muhammad plans to move to Los Angeles to work for City Year, a non-profit organization that combats the high school dropout crisis by providing extensive academic and behavioral support to students.
He also plans to keep in touch with the 36 residents of Trinity Community Ministries, a transitional home on Bell Street a couple of blocks from campus.
“Georgia State has really prepared me to thrive in such a diverse world,” said Muhammad. “I feel like I’m ready to take on the world, thanks to all the amazing people and opportunities my university has generously given to me.”
Also at commencement, the university will recognize two students with the Kell Award, which is given to the graduating senior with the highest grade-point average (GPA) with all course work completed at Georgia State.
- Jamesha D. Foote (GPA: 4.19), a marketing major and graduate of Riverdale High School, is the fall recipient. After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in business administration at Emory University, and then to earn her CPA license.
- Faris Said Mousa (GPA: 4.21), a sociology major and graduate of Druid Hills High School, is the summer Kell recipient. Mousa plans to return to Georgia State to pursue a master’s degree in sociology with concentration in race and urban studies.
Photos by Steve Thackston.