“It’s a running joke in my family that if you want something to happen, let Naimat take care of it.”
Talk to Naimat Khani for an hour or two and you’ll quickly learn how true that is. A sophomore at the Chambers College, Khani is majoring in management with an emphasis in human resources.
She’s also minoring in entrepreneurship.
She’s also the president of the Chambers College’s Entrepreneurship Club.
There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to Khani, and the best place to start is at home. Originally from Nigeria and Syria, she moved to Charleston in 2013 with her family.
It was another trip abroad that convinced Khani to stay in West Virginia.
“I decided to come to WVU after I did my senior year of high school abroad in Turkey,” Khani said. “I liked the environment there, but I was away from family and didn’t like that I could only visit them once a year. That narrowed down the choices to somewhere closer.
“It’s because of how the community is. West Virginia in general, people are so kind here. If I have to reach out to a neighbor, I know they would help.”
Khani was always interested in human resources – WVU is among the few universities that offer a concentration in that discipline. In her first semester, however, she discovered another passion.
“Entrepreneurship 102 is required for all new students. It sparked an interest in me – I was attracted to the unknown in entrepreneurship.”
The unknown? Khani explained: "Entrepreneurship is like a dark tunnel. You don’t know if you’re going to get out of it with anything, or how long or short or wide or narrow it is. Everyone’s journey is different.”
Khani’s interest in entrepreneurship soon extended to one of the Chambers College’s many student organizations. She joined the Entrepreneurship Club just in time to assist in one of their most exciting projects.
When Stansbury Hall was demolished to make room for the Chambers College’s new home, Reynolds Hall, many Stansbury bricks were saved by the Entrepreneurship Club. In those blocks of history, the Entrepreneurship Club saw an opportunity, and used laser engraving to imprint WVU branding onto them. The bricks were then put up for sale.
“We didn’t expect any success, but we sold out in two days,” said Khani. “A lot of people ordered more than one! Some came back for more, but we’d already sold out, so we’ll have to do another sale this year.”
Khani’s involvement in the club led to her becoming its president. Now, she helps other students enhance their entrepreneurial knowledge.
“We provide access to resources that help students grow in their entrepreneurial journey, working closely with the Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab and some of the professors who teach entrepreneurship. We get in contact with local businesses who can come in and talk about their journey, and hold club meetings where we examine more theoretical aspects.”
When she first decided to attend WVU, Khani couldn’t have predicted that she’d find a new passion, let alone that she’d become the leader of one of the Chambers College’s most active student organizations. Staying close to home has led her far afield.
That’s the dark tunnel. It’s scary, it’s surprising – and quite often, it’ll lead you places you would never have found otherwise.
“A lot of people have ideas, and a lot of them, if pursued, could benefit others,” said Khani. “I’m not someone who likes the unknown generally, but I was drawn to the idea that at the end of the day, I was still getting experience no matter what.”
CONTACT: Andrew Marvin
John Chambers College of Business and Economics