UTSA student Sanah Jivani was one of 15 students selected to serve on the Pearson Student Advisory Board.

For the past eight years Pearson Education has been bringing together exceptional students to create the Pearson Student Advisory Board (PSAB). This year, University of Texas at San Antonio Sophomore, Sanah Jivani was one of 15 students chosen out of 800 applicants to be a member of the PSAB.

“When I heard about Pearson, I loved the idea of college students getting a voice in big companies,” Jivani explained. “I just truly believe in the power of every voice, but especially youth voice. When I heard that they were trying to incorporate youth voice into to the work they do I just thought it would be an honor to represent UTSA and bring a new perspective so I thought why not apply and when I got it, it was really exciting.”

“The Pearson Student Advisory Board offers outstanding student leaders the opportunity to help shape the learning tools and strategies that will prepare themselves and their peers to succeed in life,” explains John Wannemacher, Pearson vice president of higher education strategic marketing. “Their participation provides Pearson with invaluable feedback on how to continually improve our products, while helping the students to build their resumes and prepare for life after college.”

The board is made up of North American students who apply for the opportunity to work with Pearson and make an impact on the company. PSAB members work with Pearson executives and development teams to create and change learning products that are used by students throughout the region. The students conduct their work individually, but many of their assignments require online collaboration between the members. In order for student board members to meet and bond, they are flown out to in-person meetings twice a year, courtesy of Pearson, and they participate in monthly group check-in calls.

“It was very competitive; it was a very long application as well,” Jivani explained. “Our first meeting was this summer in Boston; they flew us out and we started talking about some of the initiatives we’ll be working on. One of the coolest things we’re trying to incorporate this year is a really big service component. Pearson already does a ton of awesome service initiatives, but that’s mostly what I’ve been trying to work on, to create a youth led service initiative by their board.”

Jivani, a sociology and communications double-major, hopes to continue to run her own non-profit organization after graduation. In high school, she founded the Love Your Natural Self Foundation after being diagnosed with Alopecia.

“When I was in seventh grade I lost all of my hair to a condition called Alopecia. It was a very personal journey. I lost all of my personal confidence and I was being bullied pretty badly. I thought to myself ‘what is the one thing in my life I would change right now if I could change anything’. I realized it wasn’t the fact that don’t have hair it was that I had so much hatred in my heart for myself.”

After making the decision to stop wearing her wig, Jivani learned to be comfortable with and love her natural self. Ever since, she has been deeply passionate about helping others. In addition to founding her own organization, Jivani has an outstanding resume, a factor that helped her earn a spot on the PSAB.

Each member works on a variety of assignments for an average of 2-5 hours per week for one academic year. While there is a lot of responsibility that comes with the job, being a board member offers a unique real-world work experience and a chance to improve interactive tools college students use every day. Applications to join the PSAB for the 2017-2018 academic year open November 1.

Listen to her interview here: https://soundcloud.com/paisano-3/common-link-episode-1

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