Engineer's future is looking bright

By Winter Dorval - Staff Reporter

Liban Hussein is graduating this spring with the skills, motivation, and education to rebuild communities.

He is majoring in electrical engineering.

He attended Highline from fall 2015 to spring 2018.

 "Highline College has a wonderful electrical engineering program, with excellent faculty and advisers. Whenever I had a doubt regarding my studies or the transfer process, they were more than willing to help," Hussein said.

He will graduate with a 3.8 GPA and plans to transfer to the University of Washington-Seattle.

"I feel that I have been able to use my STEM skills to help students in similar situations like mine, and by doing so, they can ultimately contribute to both Highline and beyond as I have sought to do," Hussein said.

The branch of engineering he wants to do has changed, but he has always been interested in engineering.

"I initially started off doing petroleum engineering, then a more closely related field (chemical engineering), and finally set my sights on electrical engineering," Hussein said.

The diversity at Highline has allowed him to find a solid support system, he said.

"I've found the diverse group of students who share similar mindsets and goals with me, [and] have pushed me to excel in my studies," Hussein said.

"Likewise, the faculty have been very motivational in helping me succeed in my studies, pushing me to be the best I can be, as well as giving back to the community with the skills and education acquired both at Highline College and beyond."

At Highline, Hussein won the Math Tutor of the Year Legacy Award, the Engineering Legacy Award, the MESA Student of the Year Award, the National Society of Black Engineers Legacy Award, the MESA Advocate Award, and the Somali-American Parent Association Tutor of the Year Award- Kent.

He has also gotten the $8,000 ACE Mentor Scholarship, and the $600 Richard Plagge Scholarship. 

He attended Highline through Running Start and began studying engineering to rebuild his homeland in the Horn of Africa.

"As a 16-year-old at the time, I wasn't sure how to go about this endeavor, and after utilizing my resources at Highline and seeking advice from the faculty and students, I feel I have a much better idea of what I plan on doing in the future as an electrical engineer," Hussein said.

His parents are from Somalia but he was born in Columbus, Ohio and has lived in the United States his whole life, he said.

"Being a Somali-American minority in the STEM field, it has been tough adjusting to the many challenges faced when taking STEM classes. These include finding peers of similar backgrounds to study and connect with," said Hussein.

"Despite the challenges, I've worked hard to overcome the barriers ahead and have enjoyed success thus far."

He works in the Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program as an academic excellence workshop facilitator, Hussein said.

"I'm quite involved with the MESA program, where I help students in a variety of math classes. In addition, I advocate for student to apply to the MESA program, as well as joining the Academic Excellence Workshop program to use as a resource to succeed in their respective STEM classes," Hussein said.

His work in the MESA program began in the summer of 2017, he said.

"After a few friends invited me to both the Math Resource Center and MESA, and recommended them as resources to succeed in my STEM classes, I've found nothing short of success and help from both the staff in and out of these two amazing centers," Hussein said.

The MESA and Math Resource Center have helped him with letters of recommendation, financial aid, and a personal statement, he said.

"I believe they definitely had an impact on my career path, namely due to the fact that they have helped in my STEM classes, as well as general advice with regards to what to expect in the field I plan on entering. They have also helped me with professional networking," Hussein said.

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