The Student Newspaper of Highline College

Fatoumata Diallo

Jun 09, 2022
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Class-of-2022-Banner-for-8-Students-1024x119.png

Fatoumata Diallo

Student carves a path,

finds a calling

While she didn’t end up passing chemistry this hasn’t stopped her. Thanks to programs such as Achieve she’s built upon that experience, learned from it.

What Diallo likes the most about Highline is the community and that the professors really care about you as a person and are passionate to help, she said.

With this support structure, Diallo plans to get a general AA degree and transfer to the University of Washington Tacoma in order to get a biology degree. She hopes to use this degree in order to become a pediatric doctor or surgeon.

Diallo offered advice for students who might be in a similar situation. 

“It’s OK to feel weird adapting to a new environment,” she said. “It’s OK to not fit in, to think those thoughts. It’s OK to not fit in, ‘cause eventually you will fit in.”

Patrick Pugh • Staff Reporter

Fatoumata Diallo had to work to fit in. 

She found herself in a new country, with a new language, and her reception wasn’t always welcoming. 

But she stuck with it, and now has her sights set on a career in medicine. 

Diallo is originally from Guinea in West Africa. She mostly grew up in the city but also occasionally lived in a small village in the mountains.

When describing her life in the city, she said she felt like she was part of a collective. While in the village, however, there was more focus on the individual and keeping to traditions.

In 2013 her life irrevocably changed at the age of 9, when her dad revealed that they’d be moving to America.

Diallo said the news shocked her. 

“You never would imagine coming here, you don’t get to see that over there,” she said. “People risk their lives getting here.”

While she was originally mad that her father sprung this on her, she said that loves and respects her father nowadays.

Her father moved them because, “He wanted better opportunities for his kids,” she said.

Coming to the United States meant more opportunities, she said. 

“Most girls can’t go to school over there,” Diallo said of Guinea, adding that she’s “really grateful for her education.”

After two flights, Diallo had officially landed in New York. After staying with a relative for a day, the family then moved to Washington. 

But that didn’t mean her struggles were over. The main challenges she faced was that she couldn’t speak English and that she faced her fair share of discrimination.

“People were staring at me because of my face,” Diallo said, something that did “not give a feeling you belong.” 

Despite her struggles, Fatoumata persevered. 

She went to Kent-Meridian High School. While going to Kent-Meridian High School she met Jennie Richie, her global study teacher. Richie had a big effect on Diallo, due to how passionate she was about helping students. Another effect Richie had on Diallo was how she opened her eyes to global issues around the world.

“After taking chemistry I knew I wasn’t in Running Start,” Diallo said. “I was in college.”

Chemistry was a challenge, but this slight bump in the formula didn’t bother her too much. “Failure comes with success,” Diallo said.

While she didn’t end up passing chemistry this hasn’t stopped her. Thanks to programs such as Achieve she’s built upon that experience, learned from it.

What Diallo likes the most about Highline is the community and that the professors really care about you as a person and are passionate to help, she said.

With this support structure, Diallo plans to get a general AA degree and transfer to the University of Washington Tacoma in order to get a biology degree. She hopes to use this degree in order to become a pediatric doctor or surgeon.