By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – University of Michigan-Dearborn graduate Lanah Almatroud is headed to medical school, the next exciting step for a Syrian immigrant who came to the United States not speaking English.
Mentoring other students facing challenges, as well as giving back to the community by volunteering, is important to her as well.
Almatroud has volunteered at Zaman International, helping underserved women learn English, with Jewish Family Services as an employment mentor, and at Multicultural Academy Elementary School in Ann Arbor.
She also co-founded Serving the Underserved, a UM-D student organization with her friend Alyaa Saleh, which she said had a great impact on her.
“We raise money, we collect items and prepare necessity kits for people in Dearborn and Detroit, mostly refugees,” Almatroud said. “Every month we would go and distribute the care kits with items like shampoo and soap and hand sanitizer.”
At UM-D she worked as a research assistant for Robert Hymes, as a supplemental instructor for general Chemistry I and II and as a peer academic coach.
As a peer coach, Almatroud would meet with students, have them identify their strengths and weaknesses, help them set goals and help them learn time management and study techniques.
She also works as a medical assistant at Medical Care One Urgent Care in Ypsilanti and as a lead youth instructor at ZeeTheCook Culinary Studio in Dearborn Heights.
Almatroud said she shares encouragement while trying to instill confidence when she mentors younger students.
“You can do it as long as you have a right mindset,” she said.
Almatroud will start medical school in August, and is still undecided as to where she will attend.
She said when she mentors others, she always tries to offer encouragement.
“Everything is possible if you just persist,” Almatroud said. “We are going to come across many obstacles, but if you try hard enough, that is what matters the most.”
She hopes that as a doctor she will be able to help underserved patients with language barriers, which she said intensifies their vulnerability.
“As a physician, I am hoping I can try to alleviate those barriers to quality health care,” she said. “I will always love Syria, but the United States is my second home because I don’t think I would be where I am at today if it wasn’t for this country, so I want to give back to this country and I want to be a physician here.”
Almatroud said one of the most important things in life is to surround yourself with people who want the best for you and always encourage you.
“If you fail, just get up and try again,” she said. “So, I think my life motto would be to always surround yourself with people who want the best for you, like my parents and my sisters. Everything that I am today is because of them and for them.”