“I think that’s a girl,” Najib tells me as he motions to an ambiguously dressed person on the grass outside Starbucks. I only look once but believe it’s a guy (he’s attractive, but he’s with a girl so unfortunately my chances are slim). When he stands up and walks past us, Najib concedes with a smile, “Well, look at that. It is a guy. You really are the expert in your own field.”

For Najib Niazi, the first and only Afghan student in Utah county, it always comes down to being an expert in your “field.” He strives to find common ground by emphasizing your strengths and talents, later touching base and pursuing a friendship – always with casual jocularity. “I try to make it so that within thirty minutes of meeting a person, we are no longer strangers,” he says. He lives by the motto that “knowing more is never enough” and brings his eclectic knowledge and his good humor to every conversation.

These skills make Najib a reliable go-to person who has networked connections with various heads and resources all over campus. His position as intake advisor for the Intergrated Studies program puts him in a position to traffic with hundreds of people. Just about every international student and faculty member knows Najib, and he knows how to connect you to anyone, any time, anywhere.