Ms. Ali , a 2017 program participant at the University of Iowa where she is currently a senior majoring in Global Health Studies on a pre-medicine track.

What led to your interest in a health profession?

I have always been passionate about being a doctor since I was a young girl. I grew up in poverty and seeing others who were sick and dying in my home country made me want to do something about it. I told myself that I would be the change that my country needed. At the age of eleven my mom got diagnosed with type one diabetes and that was kind of hard on my family because everyone worried so much about her health especially me. I also wanted to make sure that she was eating the right foods and getting in the right amount of exercise. I love my mom very much and I want to one day be able to find a cure for diabetes to help her and others like her.

Who or what inspired you?

My parents inspire me the most because they have given up so much for me. My parents gave up their whole life to bring my siblings and I to America so we could have a better life. They also taught me the value of hard work and what it means to fight for what you want. Thanks to my parents I am able to believe in myself and that I am capable of anything that I put my mind and heart into.

What obstacles did you overcome in your educational or career journey?

I have overcome so much obstacles in my educational journey. I am a Black Muslim women and on top of all that I am a refugee and a first generation student. When people look at me they tend to think that someone like me wouldn’t have a chance at life or that someone like me isn’t capable of doing much since I wasn’t born in America. I am different and I had to learn that sometimes it’s okay to be different and that if people don’t accept you for who you are then you have to learn to accept yourself. Nobody in this world is perfect. I learned to love myself and be confident in everything that I do.

What makes your story unique?

My story is unique because it’s my own. I live up to my story and I use it to inspire and help others. My story defines who I am and it has shaped me into the women I am today. I have been through alot but no matter what life throws at me I somehow always find a way to not give up.

If you had the opportunity to talk to a health profession student, what would you tell him/her?

You are capable of anything, so dream big and don’t ever give up on your dreams. Yes, sometimes studying medicine becomes hard and you feel like giving up but just remind yourself why you started in the first place.

Posted: September 2019