LEWISTON — Khadra Jama, a graduate from University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College, has been accepted to Brandeis University’s graduate program in sustainable international development in their Heller School.
Jama was a double-major at USM LAC, receiving degrees in leadership and organizational studies and social and behavioral science. She graduated in May.
Jama, a resident of Lewiston, is originally from Somalia. Forced to leave during their civil war, her family settled in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, before finally being resettled in the United States.
“In the past five years that I have lived in the United States, I have worked tirelessly to achieve my dream of attaining a college degree,” said Jama. “As an African, I have always been aware that access to education is a privilege and not a right. My undergraduate course work at USM LAC challenged me to expand my world view and provided me with the skills to critically analyze my experiences and apply theories gathered in the classroom.”
The Heller School program in sustainable international development helps build and educate development planners and policy makers in the U.S. and abroad by forming a community of concerned students and faculty drawn from around the world.
Betty Robinson, professor of leadership and organizational studies at USM LAC, praises Jama’s academic achievements. “When we met, it was clear at once that she was and is an exemplary young woman,” said Robinson. “Khadra was an able writer when she arrived at USM LAC, and she quickly became one of our top students in writing, as well as in the oral communication of her ideas and analysis.  She is intellectually curious and a strong researcher – definitely the type of student whose faculty look forward to reading her work.”
Jama is excited about the challenges of graduate school. “I’ve already begun working professionally in local nonprofits to help develop the skills of new refugees and other immigrants, and work now supporting the development of homeless teens in our community.  I am confident that the SID program at Brandeis’ Heller School will help me maximize my potential and allow me to seize my future.” She begins graduate school this fall.

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