"School prepares you for the tasks ahead. But theory and knowledge call for application at a whole new level when the environment is dynamic and when errors and omissions can put lives at stake. Do we shy away from challenges? As Seton Hall Pirates, we tackle them head on until we take them down. The skills I acquired at Seton Hall are invaluable and unquantifiable."
Ruqayyah Ahmed '11/M.H.A.'13
Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Ruqayyah Ahmed dreamed of studying in the United States like her three older siblings. She spent time searching online for schools in the New York Metropolitan and Washington D.C. areas, close to her family.
"I came across the Seton Hall website, which featured a picture of the snow-covered Green, and I simply fell in love with the campus," she remembers. "It looked like what I always dreamed a university would look like." She applied to eight schools through her high school counselor but compiled the Seton Hall application on her own. "Seton Hall was destiny."
Ruqayyah immersed herself in the life of the University. She majored in mathematics, complemented by science courses – a prerequisite for medical school. "While most students took classes that supplemented their majors, I took classes on the opposite end of the spectrum, which made my education a bit more challenging. But I always enjoy a challenge," she says.
She took advantage of Seton Hall’s many extracurricular opportunities as well, working as a peer adviser; serving as a math tutor; joining the Salaam Organization and the Badminton Club; participating in SHU 500 (a day of community service) and working in the Office of the Provost as a work-study student.
After graduating, Ruqayyah secured a graduate assistantship with the provost’s office while studying for a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA). "I wanted to take a year off after getting my undergraduate degree to study for the MCAT and apply to med schools," she notes. "I discovered the MHA program doing unrelated research for the provost. My father is a physician, and I have been exposed to the medical side of the profession. I thought it would be beneficial to understand both perspectives of medicine—the physician treating patients as well as the administration of hospitals."
Ruqayyah’s dream is to become a physician who is compassionate and understanding toward her patients as well as toward the nursing staff and hospital administration. Her experiences in the MHA program and her current internship with the CEO/CFO of St. Michael’s Medical Center in New Jersey have opened her eyes. "Seton Hall provided the stepping stones I needed to function as a MHA student," she says. "I was allowed to participate in the many activities that address the plethora of problems healthcare executives face on a daily basis. Each activity was a golden opportunity to apply the theories I had learned."
A hijab-wearing Muslim woman, Ruqayyah lives her faith and beliefs though far from home. When she returned home as an undergraduate, she often appeared on her mother’s weekly news program on the Islamic Broadcasting Network. The experience allowed Ruqayyah to develop the outgoing, engaged side of her personality, and extended into her making news-oriented video clips, one of which includes her attendance at the first inauguration of President Obama, as well as coverage of protests going on in New York and Washington D.C. on the Syrian uprising. "In fact, while at the U.N., I happened to run into the Syrian Ambassador to the U.N and pulled him off the street to get an interview on what was happening in Syria at that time."