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Salam Ali

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Willows, CA
Class: Senior
Program Position: Floor Staff at the Climbing Gym

How did you first get connected with the Wildcat Recreation Center (WREC)?
In my first year of college, I decided to be a bit adventurous and took the Intro to Beginning Rock Climbing class. Needless to say, I absolutely fell in love with the sport! I began going to the Climbing Gym in the WREC and there, the staff helped me grow as a climber. The friendly atmosphere and staff made me want to go back again! Luckily enough, two years later, I got hired and absolutely love my job!

How would you describe your role with the WREC?
As a member of the floor staff at the Climbing Gym, I am responsible for ensuring the safety of the patrons, as well as all of the equipment. I am also responsible for providing belays, but most importantly, for providing encouragement and an overall friendly atmosphere! What the job description doesn’t note is that we provide an outlet for those who need someone to talk to. Regardless of whether or not you have any climbing experience, we treat everyone who comes in exactly the same. In addition, I was lucky enough to be a part of the drought saving efforts as “Water Woman!” I informed students on the conservation efforts of the WREC and dropped some serious water saving knowledge on them!

What does working for the WREC do for you personally, professionally, or academically?
From the moment I step into the WREC, the front desk personnel are friendly and courteous. All the maintenance and fit staff say hello, and I get the feeling that we’re one family, especially from the rest of the climbing gym staff. We are all there for each other; from lending an ear to simply enjoying an evening of shenanigans. Professionally, the WREC introduces me to many different cultures and ethnicities. This is extremely important as when we’re out in the work force, we’ll be exposed to many different people from different backgrounds. Academically, the WREC encourages us to strive for excellence and takes our busy academic lives into consideration when scheduling us to work.

What do YOU bring to the table in your role at the WREC?
I hope to bring a sense of adventure and inclusion to the WREC. Many people come into the Climbing Gym never having climbed in their entire lives. They also express their intense fear of heights. I hope to help them see that in a safe and controlled environment, they can expand their horizons, try new and amazing things and reach new heights (pun intended)!

What are your career plans and how does your job with the Associated Students better prepare you for that path?
Upon graduation, I hope to work with Boeing as one of their Design Jet Engineers or go on to receive my Master’s and/or Ph.D. in aerospace and aeronautics and work for NASA. Having worked for Associated Students for almost 2 years now has helped me interact with people from diverse and amazing backgrounds! In addition, it has helped prepare me in dealing with and diffusing intense situations. But most importantly, I have become more confident in myself and my abilities!

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