Maisha Kamalebo, a freshman at the University of Arizona, recently learned that by the year 2025 most jobs will require post-secondary education. He knows that by being the first in his family to go to college he will give himself the added advantage in attaining his career goals. “I have always pushed myself to reach the greatest achievement I can.”

Currently he is working towards a bachelor of science in biology so that he can pursue nursing and finish school fast. “I knew that I wanted to go into the medical field, and a nursing degree would allow me to start helping people as soon as possible.”

This action-forward and engaging attitude applies to many parts of Maisha’s life. As a result, he was recently awarded the Program Pro award at the Earn to Learn Evening of Honors. Before starting at UA he participated in Career Cafe, an event co-hosted by Earn to Learn, Starbucks and LeadLocal, where students learn professional and networking skills. As a freshman, Maisha has continued to engage with Earn to Learn event and volunteer opportunities like the 1st Year Panel Q&A.

Despite Maisha’s many accomplishments and contributions, he is someone that continuously surprises himself. As a high school junior, he was told by his counselor that his grades were excellent and would make him a likely candidate for UA. “I had only been in the U.S. for a short time and there was a lot to catch up on. I was shocked when my counselor told me I could go to UA.” He began to notice that there was a trend in the classes that he both excelled at and enjoyed. “I’ve always really liked biology, and anatomy proved to be something I was good at learning.” He went on to participate in the JTED Healthcare Foundations program and as a high school senior went on EMT ride-alongs. “It was great exposure and gave me a lot of options for choosing a healthcare career.”

Earn to Learn helped to make his college plans a reality, but saving proved to be a challenge. “I started late in the program and had to save about $70 every month.” Balancing work, school and life seemed impossible. “Making car payments, high insurance costs, and not being able to count on anyone but myself was hard. I had to take on more hours at work which were mostly night shifts and did not get much sleep.” Looking back, Maisha wishes he had started saving earlier. “I only arrived in the U.S. in 2012, so saving wasn’t an option before, but I didn’t know about Earn to Learn until I went to College Night at the Tucson Convention Center my senior year.”

Maisha credits Earn to Learn with making college life possible. “Earn to Learn helped me buy books and the technology I needed to do my school work. I am able to buy groceries and feel that I had a better start to college because of Earn to Learn.”

Posted on: February 15, 2017