University of Nebraska at Omaha

Sahro A. Hussein (2010)

My First Generation Story

Being a first-generation student at college is like being in the forest without knowing what to expect—good or bad. It is really confusing, and without help from family, you may not even know where to begin the college planning process (much less know what to expect once you get there.) I had so many questions…

Luckily, I got a Susan Buffet scholarship*, which I feel so blessed to have. I found helpful staff members at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, including Kellie Pickett, coordinator of the Thompson Learning Program*, who was wonderful and cared a lot. She taught a non-credit class that helped her students with college issues. Then I joined Project Achieve, where I met Connie Sorenson-Birk, a brilliant and lovely woman with whom I enjoy every minute. She is one of the few people who assured me that I can be a doctor. I know it is not easy, it will never be.

My personal goals and inspirations are much stronger than any obstacles. I set my goals constantly and remind myself to work harder. To me, aspirations are the things that keep me moving. The three things that drive me are: hating to disappoint my parents and myself; my desire to become a doctor; and the example I want to set for my daughter.

Throughout my childhood I was always ambitious and open to learning. As a young girl I wanted to be a successful entrepreneur like my dad. Then a civil war broke out in my country and we lost everything. I lost the opportunity to get a good education. When we immigrated to the United States, we got a second chance…but in many ways it was too late for my siblings.

I got the chance to go to school, which makes me first person in my family to go to college. I put a lot of effort into everything that I do, and I do my best when it comes to education. I hate failure, and I hate to disappoint my parents and myself. Whenever I want to quit something, I remember my parents' faces. I remember seeing the honest and happy tears in their eyes when I was accepted to college. They give me a thousand reasons to try my best.

My goal of becoming a doctor is also connected to my parents. Two years ago, when my dad became very ill and passed out in front of me, I couldn’t do anything to help and felt helpless until the paramedics showed up. The experience whetted my appetite for medicine and made my drive for becoming a doctor and helping people stronger.

Last, I want set good example for my beautiful six-year-old daughter because I want to help her reach her goals. I don’t want my daughter to feel helpless like I did. I can't imagine living my life wondering how successful I could have been (and my daughter could have been) if I had only gone on to college.
* Note:

Students receiving a college scholarship from the Susan T. Buffett Foundation and attending UNO are William H. Thompson Scholars. William H. Thompson was the father of Susan T. Buffett and served as professor of psychology and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Omaha University, which became UNO. Beginning in 2008, the Susan T. Buffet Foundation and the University of Nebraska have collaborated to provide Thompson Scholars a unique educational experience aimed at enhancing their academic success: participation in the Thompson Learning Community (TLC). This participation connects them with other Thompson Scholars, with the TLC faculty, and with UNO.

About the Student

FGV: Sahro Hussein 2

Sahro A. Hussein came to Omaha at age 17 with her family due to a civil war Somalia. She overcame her initially limited English skills and graduated from Omaha’s Benson High School. Now 21, she started at the University of Nebraska at Omaha last fall and hopes to become a physician. Her family is large—her parents had 12 children—and Sahro knows she is an example of what is possible with hard work.

Student Stats

Name: Sahro A. Hussein (2010)
Age: 21
Year in School: Freshman
Major: Pre-Medicine
Favorite Course: Political Science
Dream Job: Physician

About the School

FGV: Univ of Nebraska at Omaha

UNO is located in the heart of Nebraska's largest city, and we're proud to serve as the state's metropolitan university. We offer nearly 200 programs of study in a learning environment that features the best of both worlds—a small-school atmosphere within a thriving city where internship, employment and entertainment opportunities are plentiful.



  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662