The skanner. (Portland, Or.) 1975-2014, June 01, 2016, Page Page 5, Image 13

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    June 1, 2016 The Skanner CAREERS EDITION Page 5
Kaiser Scholarship Winner Looks Ahead
Roosevelt graduate Chaltu Ahmed plans to pursue a career in medicine
By Arashi Young
Of The Skanner News
Ahmed arrived
in the Unit-
ed States, as a
16-year-old from Ethi-
opia, she didn’t know
the language or the cul-
ture. Ahmed was a nat-
urally curious and sci-
ence-minded teen who
knew she wanted to pur-
sue health.
She enrolled in Roos-
evelt High School, stud-
ied hard and ended up
graduating in three and a
half years while she was
still learning English as a
second language. Ahmed
is the oldest sibling of
four children and the
irst person in her family
to graduate high school.
She plans to attend a col-
lege in Oregon and study
Ahmed recently re-
ceived a $10,000 Kaiser
Permanente Northwest
scholarship -- the largest
scholarship amount in
their health care career
program. The scholar-
ship is part of an efort
to improve community
health by helping diverse
students become health
care professionals.
“When the health care
workforce relects the
patients it serves, more
people have access to
better quality care, so
it’s a no-brainer for us
to invest in this amaz-
ing group of young, di-
verse scholars who wish
to enter health care ca-
reer,” said Tracy Dan-
nen-Grace, the director
of community partner-
ships and philanthropy
at Kaiser Permanente.
The Skanner News
met with Ahmed to talk
about her life as a new
immigrant in the United
States, the scholarship
and her hopes to im-
prove community health
here and in Ethiopia. The
interview has been edit-
ed for space and clarity.
For more information
on the Kaiser Permanen-
te Health Care Career
scholarship, visit: https://
t e . o r g /a r t i c l e /n o r th -
w e s t - h e a l t h - c a re - c a -
The Skanner News:
What was the experience
like for you coming from
Ethiopia to the United
Chaltu Ahmed: When
I irst moved here it was
Jan. 26, around midnight
in 2012. So I moved here,
not knowing the weath-
er changes and I don’t
know about the lifestyle
here and I didn’t speak
any English at all. It was
a very life-changing ex-
TSN: What was it like
for you to come to the
United States without
knowing the language?
CA: It was hard work. A
lot of students end up not
attending high school or
college because the fear
of the language barriers
might keep them from
pursuing their dream. I
used to think outside of
the box. It’s doable and if
you work hard, then lan-
guage barriers should
not stop you from attend-
ing college.
That is how I am going
to change my family’s
life and the lives we are
living now. I am totally
sure that I am not going
to work for the minimum
wage and a job that I don’t
like. My goal was to be a
health care professional
and you need a lot of sci-
ence and math and a lot
of technical skills also, so
I did work hard.
TSN: Why do you want
to pursue a career in
health care?
CA: In Ethiopia there
are a lot of diferent class-
es. So, in one community
you can ind someone
that is very rich and you
can ind someone who
doesn’t have anything to
eat for the night tonight.
I used to observe difer-
ent careers and saw the
people that worked in the
health care careers used
to help their communi-
ties and used to do good
for others. And I looked
up to them and said this
is what I want to do with
my life. I want to dedicate
my time to helping the
community with health
which is something es-
sential in life. Also, I love
science and chemistry
and math.
TSN: What does your
family think of your
Chaltu Ahmed
CA: My mom is abso-
lutely supportive to my
goals because she’s dia-
betic. She has cholester-
ol and blood pressure
problems. She has a lot of
health problems, so pur-
suing health care will
actually support her per-
sonally and support her
with her health.
TSN: What are your
hopes for the future?
CA: One of my hopes
is to change the lifestyle
that my family is lead-
ing, because my parents,
none of them graduated
from high school and
they didn’t pursue their
college careers. Graduat-
ing as a irst generation
from my family, I will be
changing the lifestyle of
my family. My siblings
will be pursuing college
careers and I will be a
Also, I would like to
change the way that the
students in Ethiopia are
pursuing their educa-
tion in general. They
don’t have proper tech-
nology, they don’t get
proper education, they
don’t get proper medical
treatments. I feel, as an
Ethiopian, we are very
behind. My hope is to
help the children back
home because they are
the future generation.
TSN: Is there anything
you want to say?
CA: Now I can focus on
my studies and I can be
reassured that I am a Kai-
ser scholar now.