“I’m proud of myself for using my voice to try to make the world a better place,” replies Rukaya Alrubaye, when asked what she is most proud of, “And I am proud of the fact that I am an Iraqi American Muslim woman living in the United States of America.”
Rukaya is in her junior year at Haas Hall Academy in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and was a recent winner in our weekly Think the Vote debate contest. She is very involved in extracurricular activities at her school, serving as president of Project Prevent Youth Coalition (PPYC), vice president of Arkansas Global Changemakers (AGC), and an Officer in the Science Club. She is also a member of HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America), Neighborhood Outreach Club, Indigenous Coalition Club, International Outreach Club, and the founder of the RAAD (Rise Above Alcohol and Drugs) Initiative at Haas Hall.
In her spare time, Rukaya likes to cook, paint, play flute and guitar, play with her two cats, fish, and hunt. She also enjoys jazz music, and her favorite book is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Rukaya does not use social media.
When asked who her heroes are, she does not hesitate. “My parents. They left their families behind to bring their children to America so that we could have access to the opportunities that we wouldn’t have had if we had stayed in Iraq.”
Rukaya has big plans for the future. “I hope to use my education in America,” she says, “to someday go back to Iraq and provide free healthcare for homeless kids, orphans, refugees, and people in need.”