Support after tragedy helps keep student on path to graduation

Ameena Yusuf was almost knocked off her path to graduation when her father was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer during her sophomore year at UW-Milwaukee.

It was an emotional blow that nearly derailed her college career. She dropped to part-time for the spring semester.

When her dad died that summer, Yusuf didn’t know if she’d be able to handle college in the fall. Staff in Rep. Gwen Moore’s office, where Yusuf was doing an internship, were very supportive, as was the professor for the summer class she was taking.

She made it back to UWM in the fall. There, she relied on a network of support that comforted her and gave her strength, including her friends in the African Student Union, the Black Student Union and the Muslim Student Association. Teachers were understanding and accommodating.

“I have kind of built a family here,” she says.

With that help, Yusuf got back on track. She served as a senator in the Student Association, and earned her bachelor’s degree in global studies in December 2017. She hopes to work for the United Nations someday.

“I found my voice here, in college, at UW-Milwaukee,” Yusuf said.


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