In high school, Fatima had a lot of questions about college. At the top of her list, what to study? She thought she might follow in her father’s footsteps as a civil engineer, so she applied to universities with civil engineering programs. When she didn’t earn a spot in an engineering program, Fatima had to reconsider her college plans. She chose Howard Community College because it offered an affordable option for exploring her academic interests.
“I'm really proud of how far I’ve come, because when I first started I wasn't sure about myself, what I wanted, and what major to choose,” explained Fatima. But with the help of her advisor, Fatima discovered a new passion for chemical engineering. Fatima also co-founded a chapter of the Society for Women Engineers (SWE) at HCC. “We went to a middle school and taught young girls about STEM,” said Fatima. “We showed them how much fun it is, and that girls can do whatever they want.”
Fatima set a great example for young women in STEM when she gained admission to UMBC’s chemical engineering program before she even finished her associate degree. During her time at HCC and UMBC, Fatima juggled classes while balancing being married with a young daughter. She credits HCC’s reverse transfer program, which allowed her to start taking classes at UMBC and transfer courses back to HCC for the completion of her associate degree. Fatima graduated in spring 2016, and is now at UMBC full time, studying to make petroleum engineering more environmentally-friendly.