Featured Auggie: Intisar Hussein

Edman Kalmoi, Joetta Cooke, Elizabeth Guiracocha, Hibak Roble, Kacie Hendrickson, Contributors; edited by Paula Watts Zehringer

I transferred to Augsburg University Fall 2018 to begin the Bachelor of Social Work program. I looked forward to learning about social work practice and hoping to see diversity among professors in the program. In the most recent fall semester where I had to take a class called Social Work Practice 3: With Communities and Policies. When registering, I noticed the professor’s name, Intisar Hussein. I proceeded to click on her name hoping to see what she looked like and discovered that she was a Black Muslim professor. I had never registered for a class so quickly. I previously met Intisar at a social work professional panel sponsored by the social work department here on campus. She spoke about her work in hospice care and briefly discussed her time as a student in Augsburg’s Master of Social Work (MSW) Program. Having a professor that looks like and represents the students they teach can help achieve intercultural awareness as well as providing information to students of color on what to expect in the professional world.  I learned a lot about social work as a profession and myself through other professors in the department, but having Intisar as a professor helped me visualize myself achieving such academic and professional prestige. –Edman Kalmoi, Augsburg University Social Work ‘20

My second year at Augsburg University in the social work program I finally had a professor of color. Her name was Intisar Hussien. She is a Somali/African American woman of Muslim faith who has beaten all of the obstacles that we brown-skinned women face all over the world. I was so inspired after having met her just on the first day of school. Here was another woman of color with many degrees pursuing her PhD. This inspired me to continue my education at Augsburg University to obtain my masters’ degree. Previously, I had no intention of continuing my education after getting my bachelors.

Professor Hussien pushed us students of color in a direct way to encourage us to pursue our masters or even a Ph.D. I finally found what was missing from my Augsburg University education representation. Professor Hussein was the refresher I needed to help remind me of why I am pursuing my degree in Social Work. She also reminded me that I have the power within me to speak up, to be courageous, and to feel just as valuable as my white counterparts. And for that I am eternally grateful for her role as a professor in the social work program here at Augsburg University, because seeing another African American woman flourishing in her career and telling me that I can do the same really helped me become more confident in my education. -Joetta Cooke, Augsburg University Social Work ‘20

During my second semester at Augsburg, I signed up for a class that was going to be taught by a minority professor. Having Professor Intisar as my professor has set me for a high standard. It made me visualize myself as a woman of color who is going to be in the field, I enjoyed her words of encouragement and to never let ourselves down as a person of color. she pushed me for the better and for that I will always be thankful. Professor Intisar did everything she could to see us succeed and always encouraged us to do our best and believe in ourselves. –Elizabeth Guiracocha, Augsburg University Social Work ‘20

During my time here at Augsburg I have had a great experience with the majority of the social work professors that have taught me. One professor that stood out was Intisar Hussein. I had the opportunity to have her as a professor my junior and senior year of college. Professor Intisar is someone that not only looks like me in academia and that I could relate to for the first time, but also that encourages me to self-advocate while furthering my social work education.  This was a great reminder of why I belong in certain spaces. Professor Intisar made sure that I knew that if I had any questions, I should not be afraid to ask for help. This was not only a learning experience, but also one where I felt a sense of welcoming community and belonging as she taught.  -Hibak Roble Augsburg University Social Work ‘20


The Social Work teachers I had during my time at Augsburg are absolutely amazing, but none of them had the experiences that Professor Hussein had as a woman of color. She spoke with such confidence and wisdom, encouraging us to question not only the way others treat us, but the way others treat people of different races around us. The social work faculty gave us the skills and education to advocate for the way people are being treated. Intisar spoke about real experiences with us and encouraged us to not accept things as they are, like history has shown, but to be the ones to make the change, no matter who may be against us. Professor Intisar shared her experiences of being a young woman of color in the social work field and made herself into an example of an individual with the traits and values I wish to have in my professional field and everyday life.  -Kacie Hendrickson Augsburg University Social Work ‘20