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When the NC State freshman was one year old, her family left the refugee camp in Kenya where she was born and boarded a plane bound for Charlotte, N.C. Though she doesn’t remember her life before she came to North Carolina, Faduma Osman knows that what her parents went through during their harrowing journey out of war-torn Somalia and 12 difficult years in the refugee camp has shaped life for her and her eight siblings. “There’s no way my parents could have gone through what they went through for me not to do the best I could to succeed,” said Osman.

Although no woman in Osman’s family had attended college, after one of her older brothers graduated from UNC-Charlotte, she knew she might be able to become the first. Though she applied to many colleges, NC State was her favorite. “NC State always stood out to me because I loved the campus when I came to visit,” Osman said. “And the College of Engineering seemed ideal because they offer a lot of opportunities to help you be successful. I feel like they really care about my future after I leave here.”

Osman’s interest in biomedical engineering was sparked during a career day in 10th grade. After her grandfather in Somalia contracted a tumor, she had wondered what role she could play in improving medicine in developing countries. She had considered becoming a doctor, but after she learned about careers in biomedical engineering, she realized she was more interested in how she could drive innovation in medical tools. “My main goal is to make the tools that doctors use better and safer to improve patients’ experiences,” Osman said. “I’m hoping I can travel to Somalia frequently to help improve medical care there.” Read the full story on the NC State website here.

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