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Tasneem IslamI am a first-generation college student in the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program. ACES has helped guide me through my educational pathway. I started at Einstein High School and then went to Montgomery College (MC). While at MC I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Upon exploring different classes at MC, I found that I really loved both my science and social science classes and thought that being a public health student would be the best blend of the two. Also, I have always had a zeal for learning more about health and particularly love volunteering to aid underserved communities and spending time understanding inequalities that exist within society.

Once I decided to major in Public Health, I looked to see if it was a program offered at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG). I was very excited when I found out that the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) offered a B.S. in Public Health Science at USG. So I applied to UMCP and selected to take my classes at USG, so I could save money by living at home and save time commuting. I have really enjoyed my small classes and interacting with my professors.

The student life at USG has also really made a difference in the quality of my education. In my first semester, I became a student ambassador for USG. As an ambassador, I am learning leadership skills and improving my public speaking skills. I also wanted to get involved in a club that would make a positive impact in the world. So I helped start a new club, The Care Package Club, where we raise funds to make care packages for vulnerable populations such as refugees in Syria and orphans in Sierra Leone. I am also an active participant in the Students Engaged in Public Health Club, which allows me to apply the things I am learning in class to real life issues. Being involved at USG has helped me develop new skills and sculpt me as a future professional. After I graduate, I hope to find a job that allows me to research prevailing public health issues and disparities and work towards achieving health equity. I also plan to continue my education and get my Master’s in Public Health.

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