Student Spotlight: A. Monnie Aleahmad
A. Monnie Aleahmad
Although A. Monnie Aleahmad initially wasn’t sure where his career was going at College of DuPage, he found his path after taking an improv class.
“I couldn’t even tell you why I took it. I didn’t even know what improv really was,” he said. “What I do know is that it was the only thing in my entire educational life that made sense and came completely natural. It awakened something in me. After that, I took an actual acting class and was eventually encouraged by an amazing group of teachers – specifically Dr. Julia diLiberti, Connie Canaday Howard and Amelia Barrett – to audition for the student shows.”
Aleahmad initially turned to College of DuPage upon returning to the U.S. after six years in Iran. Looking for a school in the Chicago area that would be near family and friends, he found at COD a positive atmosphere, diversity and a wide array of curriculum.
“I also had a surreal experience the very moment I walked in the front door. I looked up the stairs and saw standing there a buddy of mine from the Tehran International School back in Iran. We just stared at each other and we both were saying, ‘What is going on? Is this real? What are you doing here?’ and freaking out. So I figured that was some sort of sign.”
Having left a vibrant community of friends, Aleahmad wanted to develop a new network and jumped into COD. He started working part-time as a student aid, met with advisers on classes to take, and appreciated the encouragement from faculty, staff and classmates.
While at COD, he earned an Associate in Arts, an Associate in General Studies and a certificate in Graphic Design, starting down a number of different career paths until that improv class helped define his journey. So far, his career has encompassed many facets: starting an independent comic book company with several friends, running a theater company, working in personal finance and now pursuing acting and filmmaking.
“I’d love to become a well-respected working actor and director. But ultimately, I would like to have my own production company that is constantly putting out new projects, be it plays, films, TV/webseries and/or comics,” he said. “The crazy thing about the current world we live in is that with technology being so cheap and accessible and the Internet being a platform that is available to everyone, it doesn’t take much to make that dream a reality. We’re living in the future!”
Aleahmad won raves for directing and acting in a 2015 TV pilot called “Lifelines,” which won an IndieFEST Film Award and two ITVFest Awards. He also works on projects with fellow COD alums Lamorne Morris and Nick Bender.
Aleahmad considers his time at College of DuPage an invaluable and huge part of his personal development. He encourages others to start developing their skills at COD.
“I feel I owe a lot to COD for all the ways I’ve benefited,” he said. “COD’s Theater program is the best program I’ve witnessed out of any community college, and I’d say it’s even better than most university programs. The professionalism, resources, production design and quality, as well as the sheer talent of the faculty and staff, are on a level with the best professional theater companies out there. Connie and the crew involved are magicians or something, because I have experienced magical moments crafted on the student stages. I have lots of friends who moved on to get their graduate degrees in theater, and they mostly say they learned more from COD. It’s the most bang for the buck, to use a ridiculous saying.
“I’d also like to give a shout out to Jarret Dyer and the crew in Testing as well as David Chu and the other great and inspiring instructors in the Graphic Design department. COD holds a very special place in my heart and I’m proud to still think of it as home.”
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