Morristown, N.J. (March 17, 2016) – Shams Alshloul, '16, has traveled halfway around the world for her education. The Jordan native looks forward to graduating in May 2016 with a master's in health care management and if everything lines up correctly, she will have work here in the United States and begin a Ph.D. program in the near future.
Arriving to this point required flexibility, determination, and the kindness of strangers. Alshloul has a B.S.N. from the Jordan University of Science and Technology. She and her husband moved to Saudi Arabia where she worked for 13 years in hospitals in neurological and stroke units.
"Saudi Arabia, like many areas of the world, is challenged by a nursing shortage and other medical staff shortage, so nurses and medical staff are brought in from all over the world," explains Alshloul. "Since I am Jordanian, I was hired to work in the hospital right after my graduation in 2001. Saudi Arabia was like the United Nations of health professionals."
During a hospital accreditation process, she met one of the accrediting representatives. In their conversation, she mentioned that she would like to continue her education, and he recommended looking into CSE. While she was certain that she would come to the U.S. to study, she waited a couple of years while her husband's career was expanding.
Alshloul applied to CSE in May 2014; she received her travel permission in August 2014 and began classes in September. But her challenges were not yet over. Because she had her two young children with her, she could not room in the campus residence halls. She did not have a verifiable source of income, so she could not get an off-campus rental.
Through the efforts of Teri Corso, director of career services and Katherine Buck, vice president for student life, Alshloul was hired in both the wellness center and the foods and nutrition offices. She is a registered nurse (she has her nursing license in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts), and a welcome member of the wellness center, tasked with keeping the immunization records of the students and conducting follow-ups for updates. In the foods and nutrition offices, she assists with the office management.
"Shams is a very diligent employee," says Elizabeth Groothius, academic program coordinator in foods and nutrition. "She is very loyal to her work and a joy to have in the office."
After finding a duplex rental with a "very kind" landlord who doesn't mind having young children around, Alshloul jumped into her studies and is readying to graduate in May. She is also applying for a work visa so that she can continue to live and work in the U.S. and eventually earn her doctorate.
Alshloul comes from a family that prizes education. As one of 13 children, she and her siblings have all supported one another's quest for higher education. In addition to her native Arabic, Alshloul is fluent in English and understands Turkish. She was also nominated for Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities and will have her name and biography listed in the 2016 edition.
"I have had a wonderful experience at CSE. As a Muslim woman at a Catholic college, I was a little concerned at first, but we are all here for a purpose and we all help each other towards that goal," Alshloul says, "To others who are thinking about CSE, be open-minded and take all opportunities to not only learn, but to also enjoy your surroundings. I had many challenges but I also had so much support."