Congratulations to our Student Ambassador of the Month, Said El Hamdani! Said represents ABPA at the University of New Mexico, and we are thrilled to have him aboard. Within two months of the semester, Said has gone above and beyond through his efforts to bring awareness of ABPA. From classroom visits to meetings and student workshops, he’s done it all.
Continue reading to hear from Said himself.
“My name is Said El Hamdani, and I am originally from Morocco. I am currently a senior at the University of New Mexico (UNM) where I am studying Management Information System (MIS). I will continue my studies through a Master of Science in Information System Assurance with a concentration in Cybersecurity for the Fall 2020 semester.
In 2012, I arrived in the United States, staying mainly on the East Coast at retail jobs. I finally settled in Arlington, Virginia in 2015. Prior to transferring to UNM and moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico; I attended Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) where I received two associate degrees in Business Administration and Information Technology. At NOVA, I served as president of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK), as well as the executive vice-president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) Alexandria campus Council. I also volunteered with Computer Core as a basic computing instructor.
While I was attending Northern Virginia Community College, I was selected as one of the top ten high academic standing and community involvement students in Virginia State. I received the Northern Virginia Community College 2019 SEAL Award, the 2019 All-State Academic Team Award, the Valley Protein Fellow Scholarship, was on the Dean’s list and was a Presidential Scholar.
My desire to make a difference did not stop at NOVA. I quickly researched different groups within UNM, as well as national clubs/organizations. That is when I came across the Arab-American Business and Professional Association (ABPA). I loved the history and all that ABPA is trying to do for the Arab-American community. Unfortunately, UNM is not a very diverse school and as such does not offer many clubs that highlights Arab culture or just Arab presence, so ABPA’s existence meant a lot to me and my motivation to make a difference in people’s lives.
In my short time as an ABPA Student Ambassador, I have been able to speak to different students about the great work that ABPA is doing, as well as reach out to professors and tell them about the organization and their Internship Placement Program. Being able to do this has helped me meet new people, especially professors, since I am still relatively new to the university.
At UNM, I work as the Undergraduate Advisor of the Information Security Management & Analytics Research Team (ISMART) that is currently involved in a cybersecurity competition. I also serve as an IT Support Technician for the Enrollment Management department. My goal once I am done with school is to work for the federal government, specializing in cybersecurity. I would also like to be able to utilize my native language of Arabic in some capacity.
When I am not busy with schoolwork, which currently does take up a lot of my schedule, I try to spend as much time as possible with my family. I have a 2-year old daughter and a 4-month-old son. Everything I do is for them, and I love being a hands-on father. I try as much as I can to spend time with them and take them out to explore. We are currently traversing Northern New Mexico during our short weekend trips.