Hussain Ali wants to pursue medicine because it’s his way to give back to the community that helped his family.
“Everyone in my family is an immigrant,” he said. “We came from India and relied on government aid since I was born. I decided I should give back to the people who allowed me to succeed. So I combined those two parts of my life and decided to learn about medicine.”
To make sure of his interest, Ali volunteered in the emergency room at Alexian Brothers Hospital, which allowed him to see firsthand how serious and rewarding work in the medical field can be. He then turned to College of DuPage because he could take the classes he needed without facing the financial cost of attending a four-year school for the same courses.
“COD helped me with my goals by offering help in classes that were difficult, such as Calculus, by having the Math Assistance area,” he said. “The professors I had were very engaging, which pushed me more to learn the things I needed to learn to get good grades in my classes.”
Ali, who was a Board of Trustees scholar and Foundation scholarship recipient, also became involved as a Student Ambassador and was the Academic Programs Chair for the honors society Phi Theta Kappa.
“Through these experiences, I was able to gain leadership skills and learn a lot more about the school,” he said. “These roles allowed me to represent COD to prospective students so they could see the many opportunities that we have on campus. I also worked in the Foundation office as a clerical assistant and that helped with my ability to pay for college and give me work experience.”
Ali transferred to Northwestern University, where he also works as a research assistant at the Feinberg School of Medicine.
“I am incorporating the skills I learned at COD, such as time management, to help me succeed at Northwestern,” he said. “My ultimate career goal is to become a doctor, but I do not know in what field or if I even want to specialize in a particular field.”
He currently is studying for the MCAT and plans to graduate in 2020 with degrees in both Biological Sciences and Neuroscience. For students considering College of DuPage, Ali cannot say enough about the faculty.
“The faculty are great and we learned the same material as a lot of people did at other institutions,” he said. “The way I succeeded is that I made sure I knew what my professors expected of me to receive an A in their classes and I strategized on the best ways to study for their classes.
“If students are uncertain of their major, then COD becomes an even better choice because they can take a variety of classes but save a ton of money while learning in the classroom and more about themselves. I just want students to know that it is not impossible to do really well at COD, regardless of what they did in high school. All it takes is making sure you know what work is required and how to efficiently manage your time.”