Isra Haider ends distinguished undergrad career with Chancellor’s Scholar recognition


From being a Bepko Scholar to becoming one of 22 students recognized as Chancellors Scholars at the 2021 Chancellor's Academic Honors Convocation, Isra Haider has made the most of her time at IUPUI.

Haider majored in both biology and sociology, and received a minor in population health sciences. She is attending the McKinney School of Law at IUPUI this fall with a focus on health and human rights as a Bepko Fellow.  

During her time at IUPUI, Haider was also involved with the Pakistani Student Association, Jagathon, and LHSI, as well as being a founding officer of Women4Change at IUPUI—the first student chapter in Indiana.  

“Women for Change is a state-level non-profit, and their goal is to mobilize women to be more civically and politically engaged,” said Haider. 

Haider said that the inaugural club members decided to structure the organization around three main themes: education, empowerment, and engagement. These themes led the way for programming such as hosting monthly speakers, attending women’s marches, and menstrual hygiene service events.  

At the start of her undergraduate career, Haider imagined herself pursuing something more clinical in nature after she graduated; however, her sociology major and work with Women4Change led her to law.  

“I realized I was still interested in health, but I was more interested in looking at it from a different perspective, a different angle, and trying to improve the health of the community as a whole,” said Haider.  

Haider was recognized with a 2019 Women’s History Month Award for her work with Women4Change as well as other contributions.

There are a lot of people that have genuinely cared about me and genuinely cared about me finding the career path that is best for me.

Isra Haider

Another recognition Haider is proud of is being selected as a 2021 500 Festival Princess.  

The 500 Festival Princess program selects 33 college-age women from around Indiana based on scholastic performance, communication skills, community engagement, and other criteria. The princesses then go on to represent the 500 Festival in different ways, notably with outreach projects.  

Similar to the work she has done with Women4Change, Haider chose to focus her outreach on educating young women throughout the state on the importance of civic engagement.  

Haider met virtually with the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana to talk about the history of the Indianapolis 500, the 500 Festival parade, the princess program, as well as make crafts pertaining to the topics they covered.  

Haider also had the opportunity to work with Girls Inc., a non-profit organization focused on inspiring and empowering young women, to talk with middle schoolers about civic engagement.  

“We talked about all these different types of civic engagement and then we had the girls come up with things that they care about,” said Haider. “The goal was to kind of show them that even though they're too young to vote, they can still do little things to make an impact.” 

The passion and social awareness of the Girls Inc. members left an impact on Haider.  

“It gave me hope,” said Haider.  

These experiences, paired with her academic excellence and involvement in the Honors College, are the reasons that Haider was chosen as the Chancellor’s Scholar for the IUPUI Honors College, a program that has had a profound impact on her.  

“Part of the reason I came to IUPUI was because of the Honors College,” said Haider.  

Haider realized during her pre-college interviews with the IUPUI Honors College that she would be supported throughout her collegiate journey and that was a major selling point 

“There are a lot of people that have genuinely cared about me and genuinely cared about me finding the career path that is best for me,” said Haider, “ honors advisor [Kara Woodlee] was the one who helped me figure out the sociology major, she was the one who connected me with a current law student.” 

Haider said that being honored as the Chancellor’s Scholar for the IUPUI Honors College was a wonderful way to wrap up her time as an Honors Scholar.  

“They [IUPUI Honors College] genuinely know me, and not just me on paper, and they still wanted to pick me,” said Haider, “That means a lot.” 

For more information on the 2021 Chancellor's Academic Honors Convocation, and a recording of the event, visit the Academic Affairs Website.