Major: Electro-Mechanical Technology
When she was in the 10th grade, Asma Parveen Abdul Majeeth saw the artificial intelligence movie “Enthiran (The Robot)” in her native India and was intrigued by the technology.
“I was quite fascinated by the fact that machines can be programmed by human beings to do sophisticated tasks,” she said. “Ever since then, I wanted to get into a technical field.”
Asma studied mathematics in college but knew it wasn’t the right field for her. Having grown up thinking America was a “dream-land,” she did pursue a one-semester exchange with an American university and worked hard to be named one of the five finalists. Unfortunately, she was not selected and thought she missed her one opportunity to come to the U.S.
Then Asma found out about the U.S. State Department’s Community College Initiative Program. Administered by Northern Virginia Community College, the CCI Program provides underserved and underrepresented students from around the world with full scholarships that cover housing, tuition and a monthly stipend for one academic year of study in one of nine community colleges across the country.
“This time I was not just competing with the students from my college but youngsters from all over India,” she said. “I knew it was not easy but I promised myself that I would do my best. I passed all of the interviews and exams, securing first place among all of the students in India who competed.”
Because of her interest in technology, she was placed at College of DuPage in the Electro-Mechanical Technology program at College of DuPage. Asma earned certificates in Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) and Mechatronics Technology and enjoyed every moment of her time in the U.S.
“The main goal of COD’s program is to prepare students to face the real-time workplace. The labs are set up with equipment that is being used in the day-to-day professional world,” she said. “COD was also the place where I was able to associate my interests to the right field of study. Academic advisers at COD also played an important role in that.”
Asma also is adamant that the tech field is a viable career choice for women.
“While this is not strongly believed in India, to my surprise even in the U.S. I happened to be the only girl in most of the classes I took,” she said. “I believe women are smart enough to get into the tech field and do a better job. I am really happy that I took an interest in this field of study and I want other women to feel the same.”
After returning to India, Asma became a motivational speaker as a proponent of women in technology.
“I gave speeches to college girls to follow their dreams and not consider culture or sex as a barrier,” she said. “I strongly believe that women have greater logical skills and can excel by having a career in engineering and technology. Being one of a very few women who is pursuing this study, I learned that this sector can use some women power and is always ready to welcome any woman who wants to be a part of it.”
Because of her positive experience at COD, Asma wanted to return to pursue a degree, and her mom helped her realize that dream. In 2019, Majeeth earned her Associate in Applied Science in Electro-Mechanical Technology and graduated with high honors. She also was named one of the Outstanding Graduate finalists.
Her goal is to work as a PLC programmer for one year and earn money for her bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics at Purdue University. Her goal is to work as an electrical and controls technician and eventually as an instructor in order to create more technicians, welcome more women into the field and share the knowledge and experience she gained during her career in order to encourage others to succeed.
Asma is making the most of her opportunities to pursue a career in technology and believes COD is the best place to start.
“The main goal of COD is to prepare students to face the professional world,” she said. “COD has a lot of resources that help students shape their personal and professional goals. I would advise students to make use of everything available, like career services, counseling and advising, library, clubs, field study, and on-campus employment.
“I am so grateful for having landed at College of DuPage. Before coming, I was so aimless. But COD helped me in choosing my dream field and setting up a path for my future success.”