Student Spotlight: Amber Alexander uses her voice on behalf of Marion campus students and local community

April 20, 2021

Student Spotlight: Amber Alexander uses her voice on behalf of Marion campus students and local community

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Undergraduate student Amber Alexander

Reading Amber Alexander’s resume, it seems unlikely there is an office or organization on the Marion campus that she hasn’t been involved in. The fourth-year English major with three (yes, three) minors in creative writing, professional writing and history is a two-term president of the Kapow! creative writing club, as well as the former treasurer and current vice president of Undergraduate Student Government. A former employee of Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Student Life, and the Academic Success Center, Alexander currently works for the Department of Communications. In 2019, she was named one of only 150 Sesquicentennial Scholars across the university. She was crowned Homecoming Queen in 2020. Oh, and she’s had work published in the Cornfield Review, the Marion campus’s creating writing publication. 

Perhaps the most significant position Alexander has taken on in her undergraduate career is that
of Student Representative to the Marion Campus Board of Trustees. In her role, Alexander says,
“I share comments, questions, and concerns on behalf of the students of Marion campus.” She
notes that recently, many of the points she raises at board meetings relate to “different
experiences with students and how they’re adjusting with classes and involvement during the
pandemic.”

Serving on the Board of Trustees is nearly a full-time job. Alexander’s responsibilities do not
begin and end with attending meetings. “For the entire week before, I make sure to write down
concerns that I have as well as [concerns] other students have reached out about and make a list,”
she says. “I go through this list a few days before the next meeting, see if there’s anything that I
can solve in my other student club, and try to find effective ways to help the situation. If I can’t
solve it or know someone in the board will have a more complete answer, then I’ll bring it up.
For me, it all comes down to being able to put your thoughts into words and those words into
actions.”

Alexander sees her undergraduate education in English as instrumental in enabling her to do just
that. “Being an English major has helped me be able to organize my thoughts in a cohesive
manner. This is a great benefit when it comes to being proactive in board meetings,”
she says. Ensuring that the thoughts and ideas she expresses are cohesive is just the beginning,
though. “Board meetings, though virtual this year, are still very much a professional
environment,” she explains. “It’s important to be aware of the connotations your words can have
and get your ideas and concerns across as concise[ly] as possible.” The relationship between
Alexander’s academics and Student Representative responsibilities is reciprocal in some ways,
too. “Being a part of the Marion Campus Board of Trustees has really helped me view my
English major as one that is very diverse in nature, even more diverse than I originally thought of
it when I enrolled,” Alexander says.

With three minors, multiple leadership positions and a job, it is a wonder that Alexander has time
for anything else. “There are times when I wish I could just catch my breath,” she 
admits. “Managing everything that I want to do and have to do hasn’t always been easy, but I
know that it’s always been rewarding.” Alexander describes herself as someone who thrives
when she’s busy. She attests, “I know that I’m making a difference and that’s what fuels my
ambition to keep striving and working hard.” Whenever she does feel overwhelmed or
discouraged, Alexander reminds herself what she knows to be true: things will always get better.
“Terrible days or terrible feelings won’t last forever,” she promises. “All you have to do is get
through the day and do the best you that you can; your best might change from day to day, but as
long as you tried, that’s all you can do and you should be proud nonetheless.”

Taking life one day at a time and giving it her all is how Alexander plans to complete her
undergraduate degree and earn her MA in Creative Writing. Beyond that, Alexander is unsure
what her future will look like. “Ultimately I know that I want writing to be a part of anything that
I decide on doing, should it be professional writing or creative writing (though who am I to
complain if I can find a way to have both?),” she says. Among the paths she is
considering are careers in higher education and writing workshop leadership.

“I know that I still have a lot of potential to unlock and have the ability to do anything I set my
mind to,” Alexander says. She believes that her English major has strengthened her prospects in
whatever she decides to do next. “I am genuinely excited for my future because my major has
given me so many options to find the best version of myself in anything I choose to do.”

Regardless of what she chooses, Alexander’s future is sure to be bright—“even though,” she
jokes, “I can’t enjoy a film or book without analyzing it the entire time!”


By Nicole Leavitt

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