Major: Computer and Information Technology (CIT)
Although Anas Nanjo Mohammed took programming and networking classes in his native Ghana, he felt like he hadn’t studied anything after enrolling in the same curriculum at College of DuPage.
“The gap is so huge. In Ghana, you’re studying it all, while in America, you are training for one specific field, such as networking,” he said. “I loved the hands-on learning. You have professors here who have worked in the field and are now in the classroom showing you how to do it.”
Mohammed came to the U.S. and COD through the U.S. State Department’s Community College Initiative Program. Administered by Northern Virginia Community College, the CCI Program provides underserved and underrepresented students from around the world with full scholarships that cover housing, tuition and a monthly stipend for one academic year of study in community colleges. COD is part of a consortium that consists of nine community colleges across the country and is the only school located in the Midwest.
CCI students not only share their diverse cultures with people in the U.S. but also learn about American culture, societies and institutions. Part of the students’ experiences is taking the skills they have learned back to their own communities, allowing them to pass along their expertise to others.
Having completed a certificate in Computer and Internetworking Technologies at COD, and earning high honors in the process, Mohammed returned to Ghana to further his studies and share his networking skills with colleagues.
“The IT industry in Ghana is still growing and I want to help grow that industry,” he said.
While completing his studies at his university, Mohammed was asked to teach “Introduction to Networks,” filling in for a professor on medical leave. He was personally recommended because of his expertise in the field. Because he stayed in touch with CIT Coordinator and Professor Felix Davis at COD, Mohammed was able to provide his students with access to the College’s remote lab for network lessons.
But he missed College of DuPage. Because technology in the U.S. is so far ahead of Ghana, Mohammed wasn’t challenged by his work or schooling, and he wanted the expertise to truly make a difference at home. So he returned to the U.S. and stayed with the same host family he met through the CCI Program.
“I really missed COD’s professors and resources,” he said. “I set a goal to finish my degrees, work here to get experience, and then pursue a master’s degree. When I eventually return home, I will have the knowledge and skills to really help people.”
Having completed his Associate in Applied Science degree as well as additional certificates, Mohammed began working for Dialysis Care Center. He initially was an IT assistant and then was promoted to systems analyst. He had the privilege of traveling across six states to help various locations with IT issues that could not be solved remotely.
“We provide a needed service, especially during COVID,” he said. “The doctors and nurses were always in the clinics, and when a computer breaks down, we are the people who keep them up and running.”
Mohammed is also working on his bachelor’s degree, still focused on his goal of completing his education and gaining enough work experience before returning to Ghana. With this in mind, he recently accepted a new position as an IT systems administrator. Although he is sad to leave the Dialysis Care Center, he is excited about the new opportunity and what he can learn from it. He also returns to COD periodically to speak with students, encouraging them to finish school, find a job, pay off any debts and then move forward.
He will always be grateful to the CCI Program and COD for the opportunity to further his education beyond the borders of his home country.
“The U.S. truly answered my prayers,” Mohammed said. “I’ve learned about self-responsibility and giving back to society. I feel satisfied when I’m able to help someone and I want to continue doing so.