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Practice for the future: Malak’s journey toward a career in immigration law

Student Malak Holding A Tennis Racket.

Malak, a current senior at Omaha Northwest High School, brings a distinctive background to pursuing a career in immigration law. Originally from the Middle East, her immigration to the United States has fueled her personal connection to the critical work of immigration lawyers. Malak’s maturity and gratitude are outcomes of her advocacy for herself and her family, navigating resources independently from a young age. When asked about her hopes for the future, Malak describes, “[My goal for the future] is to get a bachelor’s degree and attend law school [then] work with immigrants in Omaha.”

In a family where education is a top priority, she expresses a clear goal, “Education comes first in my family. I want to achieve the dreams that my parents couldn’t.” Despite a busy senior year with academics, athletics, and a part-time job, Malak remains proactive in advancing towards her envisioned future in law.

Malak has actively explored and built skills for a career in immigration law by taking elective classes in school, volunteering as an Arabic interpreter, and seeking opportunities to learn from professionals. Recently, she attended an informational session hosted by an immigration lawyer who bestowed valuable knowledge and experience upon students which further confirmed Malak’s desired career and connection to the work. Getting to hear from an immigration lawyer encouraged Malak to reflect on her own experiences that drew her to the field. In reference to the valuable knowledge and skills she has gained thus far, Malak explains, “Everything up to now [has been] practice for the future.”

After learning about College Possible through multiple mediums: friends, counselors, emails, and invites to informational sessions, Malak knew she had to join. “When I hear about college, I open my ears. [I learned that] the College Possible program helps students like me.” As a student navigating the college application process, Malak greatly appreciates the extra motivation and support she receives from her coach, Dorothy. When Malak attends College Possible meetings she is reminded of deadlines and college tasks, which she finds very helpful. “[College Possible] always keeps me motivated and on task.” As a senior, Malak looks forward to applying for multiple scholarship opportunities with guidance from College Possible.

While many deadlines have not arrived and decisions have not yet been announced, Malak is excited to apply for a couple of scholarships that will make it possible to attend the University of Nebraska at Omaha; Goodrich and Buffett are two scholarships on her radar. Earlier this fall, Malak applied for several notable scholarship programs with many more applications in progress. In addition to learning more about ways to fund her education, Malak is eager to discover the resources available to support student success on a college campus with the help of her coach.

Already Malak’s academic, extracurricular, and community contributions have helped her thrive as a leader, a trend that she plans to continue as a college student. “[I plan to] put everything I’ve got into my first year of college. [I look forward to] getting a good paying job, enjoying the experience, being social, being friendly, talking with professors and coaches, and never being afraid to ask for help.” Malak’s character, knowledge, and initiative will take her far as a college student pursuing a career in immigration law.

This story was written by Dorothy Nolan, Malak’s high school coach and AmeriCorps member at College Possible Omaha.

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