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Getting a scholarship opened the doors for her to spread her wings

May 06, 2011

Growing up the youngest of four daughters, Najat Omer didn’t know anyone who had applied to college. Attending a university wasn't even in her dreams.

An early reader who loved school, Omer was 14 when the family moved away from the inner city of Minneapolis to the Phoenix area. In Arizona she blossomed, excelling in high school. She began thinking about attending community college, figuring her family wouldn’t be able to help financially.

“That changed my senior year, when many of my friends encouraged me to apply to the university,” she says. “My parents didn’t even know I was doing it. I got accepted to ASU, but I knew there was no way for me to go unless I got scholarships, so I took on a heavy scholarship search.

“Being awarded an ASU Parents Association scholarship sealed my fate. Any good that has come to me in my college years, I attribute directly to the very first door that was opened to me that day. The Parents Association has supported me all four years at ASU, and they have been there for me and provided with me with so many opportunities.”

Omer will graduate summa cum laude this month with a bachelor’s degree in English, planning to earn a teaching certificate so she can spread her love of reading and writing to elementary and middle-school children. She also hopes to pursue a career in publishing children’s and young adult books.
She had an internship with The Arizona Republic one semester, reporting daily breaking news online for

Omer also gained internships with a magazine and with a local publishing company, where she got to work with a newly signed children’s book author. At the request of an ASU professor, she also wrote a book review that was published in the Journal of Adult and Adolescent Literacy.

“All of these amazing experiences I’ve had so early in life are directly attributable to the support and connection with someone from ASU,” she says. “The Parents Association asked me to be the student representative on their board when I was only a freshman. I got to be in the Homecoming Parade, meet new parents and students every year during Family Weekend, and participate on the Professor of the Year selection committee for two years.

“The Parents Association believed in me, and opened so many doors for me to spread my wings outside the classroom. I am thankful to them for recognizing my potential. Most of all, I am thankful for being given the chance at a life no one in my family has had.”

Her graduation will be a triumph for her entire family, as her success has inspired others. She has seen her sisters and her mother return to school, and she hopes her younger brother, a high school sophomore, will follow in her footsteps and become a Sun Devil.

Sarah Auffret,
Media Relations