Growing up in Uganda, Josie Senoga, ’12, always knew she wanted to help others.

“My mom started a school in Uganda for children whose families couldn’t afford to pay school fees,” she says. “We moved to the U.S. when I was 11, but she was a great leadership example for me and made me want to help others who don’t have what I have.”

Her experiences at the University of Richmond and as a leadership studies major have given her the tools to do exactly that and helped to shape her future, she says.

“The study of leadership is really about bringing about positive and necessary change in the world,” says Senoga.

A family friend told her about the Jepson School before she applied to the University. “I came for a talk about the School and fell in love,” she says. “The experiences I’ve had have given me an opportunity to give back and helped me realize what I want to do.”

Senoga worked with the nonprofit organization A Fair World for her required internship, which allowed her to reconnect with her home country. The organization works to improve the lives of artisans in developing countries such as Uganda, Mozambique and Thailand.

“I was able to apply a lot of what I learned in my classes about leadership,” she says. “And I could help tackle the issues of inequality and social justice affecting underprivileged people around the world."

As a result of her experiences, Senoga plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy and human rights next year at the University of Sydney, in Australia. Eventually she would like to work for an NGO or as a policy analyst.

The theories she learned will help her, she says. “A lot of the theories are about how society should function and how we should treat each other. And while they don’t always play out in society, I think they can be a stepping stone for things like public policy.”

Reading this year’s One Book selection, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” and hearing co-author Sheryl WuDunn speak on campus as part of the Jepson Leadership Forum also made an impression, she says, and helped to further solidify her future plans.

“WuDunn said something along the lines that as students at this University, we have had unique opportunities and have a means to give back because of them,” she recalls.

“I think it would be a shame to come from where I’ve come from and not want to help or make a difference.”