Alumni Impact Spotlight

This is the second installment of our Alumni Impact Spotlight. This feature highlights the impact that alumni are having in their local communities.

Karima Amin

Karima Amin
Karima Amin
EdM ’74, School Administration & Supervision

What is your current position and place of employment?
Self-employed as the founder/director of Prisoners Are People Too, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

What path led you to attaining your current position?
Teaching in the Buffalo Public Schools and storytelling in the community and the New York State prisons.

How did your education in GSE prepare you for this position?
Urban education laid a good foundation and curriculum development sparked my creativity.

What did you learn in your degree program that was the most beneficial?
Realizing that I had multiple skills that would allow me to be an asset to my community.

What was your most memorable experience during your degree program?
Having opportunities to consult with Dr. Herb Foster, who was not my instructor but one who was willing to give his time to me for conversations that bolstered my confidence and knowledge.

How have you impacted your local community through your work?
Teaching in the Buffalo Public Schools for 25 years allowed me to positively impact many young people. Working as a storyteller, in career #2, allows me to impact young and old using an ancient medium that informs about history, culture and tradition. As founder/director of Prisoners Are People Too, Inc., I am able to help prisoners, their families and people returning to the community following incarceration.

What accomplishments have you achieved that demonstrate the work you do?
I have earned more than 70 awards for my work in education, the arts and social justice, including Black Educator of the Year, Black Educators Association of Western New York, 1977; Distinguished Humanitarian of the Year, University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, 2009; Zora Neale Hurston Award, National Association of Black Storytellers, 2012; Ntosake Award for Community Activism, VOICE-Buffalo, 2014; and the Community Service Award, NAACP, 2014.

What advice would you give to current students looking to enter your field?
Be patient. Be compassionate. Don’t let disappointments thwart your efforts. Stay focused. Work hard. Believe that success is achievable. My mother always said, “Put God first and keep it movin’.” I always say, “Believe in miracles.”