Hawra Mohammed
Meet Hawra Mohammed

Mohammed carves her own path

Updated May 1, 2019 | Original article by Garret Stolz; Edits by Courtney Van Hoosen

Hawra Mohammed’s journey of more than 7,000 miles from her home in Muscat, Oman, to Lincoln, has spanned beyond academics and into self-reliance. Now, she graduates in May with a choice of employment and a bright future ahead.

Her path to independence began her freshman year when a roommate taught her how to cook. Learning that skill motivated Mohammed to earn a driver’s license. The following year, she lived with an American host family, which improved her English and yielded better insight on what day-to-day life is like in the U.S.

“When you come from a home where you were living with your family to a different country, you face everything by yourself,” Mohammed said. “Living with a host family helped me transition into learning how to do a lot of things on my own.”

Despite being thousands of miles away from her own family in Oman, Mohammed said she is very grateful for her own parents’ support to travel overseas to pursue her education. With a strong support system at home and in Nebraska, Mohammed said she was able to become a self-taught, independent woman of her own.

Being a Husker motivated me not to stop on the first problem, but to continue until I found my success.

Hawra Mohammed
Oman

Fueled by her desire to be more active at the University, Mohammed searched for on-campus jobs immediately after she noticed other international students working on campus. Despite her excitement to apply, she never received any callbacks. Thinking it was due to her cultural background, Mohammed’s hope of finding a job diminished.

During her Investing in Strengths course, she realized her error during the job process: she hadn’t included a résumé. Recalculating her plan, she made an appointment with the Business Career Center for help creating one. With guidance and interview preparation from the center’s career coaches, Mohammed’s confidence grew and she used it to capitalize on many opportunities.

Her involvement on campus steadily increased and she prospered in the International Business Medallion Program where she engaged in activities building soft skills like interpersonal communication and critical thinking. Mohammed also acquired a spot on the International Welcome Team at New Student Enrollment, sharing her experiences and helping freshman acclimate to Nebraska. Just as those students looked to her for advice, Mohammed fondly recalled whom she turned to in her times of need, Erika Hepburn, the global initiatives officer in the Office of Global Strategies.

“Erika helped connect me with my host family and has been tremendously helpful whenever I applied for jobs, writing beautifully written letters of recommendation,” Mohammed said.

Hepburn now sees Mohammed less frequently in her office seeking advice and more around campus engaged in different events.

“Hawra is a fiery and driven individual, who grew up a lot over the past few years. Now she takes initiative and is extremely proactive in seeking out new opportunities. You can tell she is thriving and in her element,” Hepburn said. “It took her awhile to find her place, but because she was willing to be persistent, take risks, face her fears and not let perceived failures get in the way, she has found incredible success.”

With her résumé now abundant with skills and experience, Mohammed eagerly awaits her next adventure. The involvement opportunities she had on campus, in addition to her academic preparation as a double accounting and Arabic studies major, make her a competitive candidate in the job market. Mohammed has interviewed with multiple companies back home in Oman and the Middle East, from a Big Four accounting firm to an airline company. She is also considering continuing her education at a graduate school for accounting. Wherever she ends up, Mohammed says she plans to continue making connections as she gets closer to entering the job market.

“Everybody has the chance to start something. Even Warren Buffett started as a student, so give yourself a chance,” Mohammed said. “If you feel shy visiting your professors or making friends, or even working at a job, try to find a mentor and really learn from their experiences in time you are here. It is never too late to develop yourself.”

As she graduates in May 2019, Mohammed is proud of her accomplishments at the university. She credits the accounting department in the College of Business as a key supporter of her success, one she believes is the “best accounting program in the Midwest.”

Regardless of where in the world she ends up after graduation, Mohammed knows one thing for sure: “Nebraska will always be my second home.” 

Meet more international Huskers

The original article was published by the College of Business. This article has been edited by Courtney Van Hoosen in the Office of Global Strategies to reflect Hawra Mohammed’s post-graduation plans.