When Aliyah Love enrolled at Cardinal Stritch University in 2016, she was committed to immersing herself in a total college experience. Now, in her senior year, Aliyah has grown into a living definition of a student leader.
A nursing major, Aliyah was elected president of the Student Government Association after representing the Ruth S. Coleman College of Nursing and Health Sciences as a senator during her junior year. She also holds leadership roles with the Multicultural Student Nurses Association, Black Student Union, and Student Nurses Association. She delivered the Student Response at the Opening Day Convocation for the 2019-2020 academic year.
“Clubs and organizations are important because students need a place where they feel comfortable and welcome,” explained Aliyah.
It would be natural for her fellow students to look up to her because of her leadership characteristics. But her achievements are especially impressive because Aliyah, who is 39, and her husband, Burhan, have seven children between the ages of 6 and 23.
“It does get hard to juggle everything at times,” conceded Aliyah. “But I really want the whole experience and want to make a difference. I try not to mother my classmates, but relate to them as a peer.”
Her activities extend beyond the Stritch campus. She is a Girl Scout troop leader, a county and national Girl Scout delegate, and has volunteered for the African American Breastfeeding Network for a decade.
Aliyah put her education on the back burner after moving from Alabama to Milwaukee to join her family when she was 19. She provided in-home day care for 12 years, but always wanted to pursue a nursing degree.
When she visited Stritch, she saw the diverse student population and felt it was the place she needed to be.
Aliyah’s interest in nursing and commitment to education have influenced two of her children. Her oldest son, Jameel, completed his CNA and is studying for an LPN. Her oldest daughter, Khalesah, is studying nursing at Kansas City University. Jameel and Khalesah are the first in their family to earn high school diplomas.
Aliyah hopes to return to Stritch to pursue a master’s degree in nursing after graduating next May. Her career goal is to serve as a nurse-midwife and provide compassionate care to expectant mothers.
The May commencement ceremony is sure to be memorable for Aliyah, who earned a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) when she was 19. She will be the first member of her family to earn a college degree.
“The last time I had a graduation ceremony was for 5th grade,” shared Aliyah. “This will not only complete a 20-year journey toward my nursing degree, but it’s been 30 years since I walked across a stage.”