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International College of Manitoba alumna recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Black Women to Watch 2023

Tracy Karuhogo, President of the University of Manitoba Student Union (UMSU), was recently chosen by Canada International Black Women Excellence as a recipient of Canada’s Top 100 Black Women to Watch 2023.

Tracy Karuhogo (left) pictured with Robert Daudet, International College of Manitoba’s Principal and Navitas Canada General Manager (Operations).

Karuhogo is an alumna of the International College of Manitoba (ICM), having started her studies in 2019 before progressing to the University of Manitoba’s (UM) Faculty of Arts for further studies. In receiving the award, she wrote on her LinkedIn profile:

As a black woman, I know how much representation in leadership spaces means to us and I hope to open up more opportunities for women everywhere.”

Robert Daudet, ICM’s Principal, recently interviewed Karuhogo to learn more about her new appointment as UMSU President and the impact of her time as a student at ICM.

How did you discover your passion for Psychology and Women & Gender Studies?

My ICM professor, Dr. Deborah Gural, inspired me to pursue psychology. Her classes were so good. So, I have some serious ties to ICM!

Back home in Uganda, I was interested in things to do with the brain and people’s behavior, but I never really got into it. I’ve also always been into feminism and interested in advocating for and speaking for women. I initially wasn’t aware the UM offered courses in Women and Gender Studies until third year when a friend of mine suggested it to me. I did my first course, African Feminism, with Dr. Nancy Kang, who has become a mentor to me. She inspired me to do a minor in Women and Gender Studies.

What insights would you share with other students who are starting their programs and may not be entirely sure what direction to go in? 

You might start on one path and then it ends up changing. For me, I was so scared and questioned if I was just being indecisive. It’s not a bad thing to change your mind. People should stay open-minded; life could lead you in a different path and you may end up liking that path.

How did you find your passion for student leadership?

I love being involved and don’t ever want to risk being left behind. I’m always thinking about the next thing and how to contribute more. Most of the things that I have learned in life from leaders who have encouraged me. Student leadership is where I can also make that impact, where can do something for the students who are coming after me.

What have been the benefits of getting involved?

Some of my best friends, including those who helped me through very tough times, are people I met through student leadership, whether through communities, UMSU, or ICM. Getting involved opens you up to a whole different path, new directions and new environments. You get to meet many people that you would not otherwise have had the opportunity to meet.

What advice do you have to people who are scared to get involved? 

I would tell them to start small. Join a student club, then consider volunteering or running for an executive position. See what makes you comfortable and make friends along the way. These friends will be with you and push you to be your best.

What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job? 

Inspiring other students because other student leaders and other women inspired me to keep going. Helping others recognize that the sky is not the limit and ceilings are only there because society put them there – do what you want and work towards getting there.

What words of wisdom would you like to end with? 

Take advantage. Think beyond your academic courses. Put yourself out there and join a club or student group. Meet others with similar interests. Write your own journey because if you’re leaving it up to the world, other people are going to end up writing your story for you.

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