Illini student squeezes schoolwork into busy campus political schedule
Isabelle Lea Ausdal has the voice of a seasoned pro.
"My role in the Illinois student government is as senator representing almost 4,000 student constituents in the (University of Illinois) College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences," Ausdal told the Rock Island Today recently.
Such poise and confidence might sound surprising coming from a 20-year-old serving as a student senator at the U. of I., but Ausdal already has a wealth of experience on her resume.
"I vote on legislation proposed by my fellow senators and committee chairs and write and co-sponsor bills," she said. "Right now, I’m actually working with another senator and the student government president on writing a bill which would enable the university to accept military transcripts for student veterans."
Ausdal was elected in March on a platform focused on mental health, sexual assault and campus safety, agricultural consciousness and technology efficiency issues.
Ausdal is part of the Illinois Young Republicans, which at the school goes by the name Illini Republicans. Highly active at the Urbana-Champaign campus, the group seeks to defend and preserve the Constitution of the United States through events at the local, state and national level.
"I'm a dues-paying member but don't hold any offices due to my busy schedule with other offices I hold in different registered student organizations," Ausdal said.
Ausdal said she has assisted with fundraising, attended meetings, joined political conversations and took part in various social gatherings, not to mention her role as the vice president of student recruitment, part of the Collegiate Farm Bureau and IlliniPAC, a pro-Israel advocacy group.
Then, of course, there's also her schoolwork.
"My ultimate goal is to become an agricultural attorney, which is a lesser-known but much-needed specialized niche of law," Ausdal said. "I want to help protect farmers and rural communities from policies they may not understand and provide exceptional legal assistance in a way that is affordable to them."
Ausdal said many agricultural attorneys tend to leave small communities, taking their expertise with them and leaving farmers to fend for themselves, which leads them sometimes to make poor decisions.
"My motivation behind becoming and agricultural attorney is because I see how rapid urbanization combined with trends in organic and non-GMO farming and increasing governmental regulations burden the industry I love in ways they didn't know how to cope with," Ausdal said.
Though not from Rock Island originally, Ausdal currently resides near Sherrard High School. She said she feels a personal connection to many of the farming families in the area, which will make a decision on whether to go elsewhere or stay local very difficult. One thing that is sure is that Ausdal will continue reaching for her goals, which are many.
"After becoming an agricultural attorney I want to keep up with new laws and policies by getting new certificates of specialization and renewing past ones to make sure I’m updated at all times on new aspects of my line of work," Ausdal said. "After all, you never stop learning, and the fact that I love what I do makes it a privilege for me to be able to continue my education far past my college years."
Organizations in this Story
PO Box 369
Sherrard, IL 61281
504 3rd Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201
1504 3rd Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201-8612