Anila Bano '20

Anila Bano

Anila Bano is positive, reflective, and curious. “Anything I do begs the question: What am I learning?” she says. “I’m very fortunate to get opportunities that many people don’t have. So the maximizer in me thinks: How can I maximize learning from these opportunities?” This life philosophy—and the instrinsic drive to help others—has driven her broad involvement on the Luther campus.

Bano was born in Gilgit, a mountainous region of Pakistan. Reflecting on her childhood, she says,“I used to wonder: What would it be like to go on top of the mountain and look at the other side?” This curiosity led her to a United World College in Hong Kong and eventually to Luther, where she majored in biology and psychology.

Bano pursued opportunities to learn more deeply in her majors. She worked as a lecture and lab assistant in the Biology Department and the Hoslett Museum of Natural History and conducted research in the college’s Laboratory for the Investigation of Mind, Body, and Spirit.

She also made an effort to learn and grow outside of her science-based majors. “Science has a special place in my heart—it always will,” she says, “but the arts and humanities at Luther made me realize that science can only be strengthened if combined with humanities and art.”

During her time at Luther, Bano contributed a lot to campus and community life. She delivered a talk on climate change at Luther’s first TEDx conference. She was a resident assistant, an outreach student for Land Stewardship, the VP of fellowship in Luther’s service fraternity, a liaison in Student Senate, and she served on Luther’s Hearing Board. It’s little wonder she received Luther’s 2019 Krahn Family Student Life Service Award.

But amid the bustle of involvement, Bano found time for deep contemplation, including about how she sees her place in the world. “I don’t think only about what I want,” she says. “It’s more: What does the world need? And then looking at myself and thinking: Do I have skills and abilities and strengths to contribute to that?

This fall, Bano starts a full-time position with the NeuroGOAL Lab at the University of Minnesota, where she'll be researching individual differences in neurodynamics generated during decision-making.