North Central College - Naperville, IL

Farah Hassan Ahmedi '10

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Farah Hassan Ahmedi ’10 wanted to become the first in her family to earn a college degree, and after completing two summer school classes, Ahmedi officially received her bachelor’s degree in international business and management in August.

She participated in Commencement but “when my summer school is over, I want to put my gown on again to really celebrate,” says Ahmedi. She was not able to attend classes during spring term because she was married June 3, 2009, and gave birth to a baby boy, Jusuv Elham Hassan, in May.

During the past four years, Ahmedi enriched North Central and those who know her with her personal determination and courage. She was injured in a land mine explosion at age 7 in Afghanistan, lost several family members to violence and then she and her mother escaped as refugees. They settled in Carol Stream, IL, where Ahmedi learned English and completed high school. Her published memoir, “The Story of My Life: An Afghan Girl on the Other Side of the Sky,” earned her national press, a visit to the White House, dozens of speaking engagements and a Teen People award, “20 teens who will change the world.”

In January 2008, Ahmedi and her mother Fatima became U.S. citizens and Ahmedi’s story, which included North Central College, was featured on “The NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams” in its “Making a Difference” segment.

She focused solely on her academics her first two years at North Central. “I enjoyed my junior and senior years so much more,” she said, socializing with her close friend and roommate Christina Lorenzo ’10 and working in the office of alumni relations.

Ahmedi has completed a second book about her college experiences and is hoping to find a publisher. She wants to someday work at a place like North Central. “And then I would like to go on and earn my master’s degree,” she says. “But I could have never gotten this far without the help of so many people supporting me the past four years.”

North Central NOW Fall 2010