“I’ve never cried in an interview before, but I was so moved by the conversation and personal connection,” said UNCG doctoral student Mohammed Jibriel. “I knew UNCG was the right place for me.”
Little did he know how right it would turn out to be.
Born and raised in Saudi Arabia and a Sudanese citizen, Mohammed Jibriel is an international student in the School of Health & Human Sciences with a lot of frequent flyer miles. Prior to coming the United States, he attended medical school in a town outside Moscow. The cold weather in Russia was certainly different from Saudi Arabia. After two years, he moved to North Carolina, attending Queens University in Charlotte where he received a B.S. degree in molecular biology, followed by a M.S. degree in biohazardous threat agents and emerging infectious diseases from Georgetown University.
Looking for a doctoral program, UNCG’s PhD program in Community Health Education was on his short list.
“I wanted to attend the best school to further my studies. UNCG’s program is ranked eighth in the nation. It was an easy choice.”
What surprised him was his professors – they reached out to him first, before he even came to campus, to welcome him, and they continue to support him every step of the way. Another surprise came later – he learned that Greensboro has one of the largest Sudanese communities in the world. A perfect fit.
“I was accepted to other top programs in the country, but none made me feel as special. I am really happy to be at UNCG. The community, the diversity, and the faculty are incredible. I am so excited to apply what I have learned in my coursework. It’s not every day we have a global pandemic to test our theories and practices in real-world scenarios. Making a difference is what I set out to do.”
And his professors agree that Jibriel is the type of student that thrives at UNCG.
“He could have gone anywhere with his credentials, and believe me, he has only just begun with the work he will accomplish in public health,” said Dr. Mike Perko, professor and director of graduate programs in the Department of Public Health Education (PHE). “Mohammed is that special type of student that you never forget, and the department will continue to support and be proud of him as he makes his mark in the world!”
And has he ever. Selected for a prestigious program with the United Nations (UN), Mohammed is one of 30 participants from across the globe invited to take part, all of whom have advanced degrees. Most of the participants are scientists, researchers, and experts in their fields. The UN is sending him to an international conference in Geneva, Switzerland later this year, all expenses paid.
“I have already learned so much from Mohammed in the short time that we have worked together,” said PHE Professor Dr. Amanda Tanner. “UNCG and the PHE department are so lucky to have him. He is going to change the world!”
Story by Eden Bloss, University Communications