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Above, recent U of M alum Fatima Noor outside the White House, where she will work as a special assistant in the Office of the Director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security. W W W. M E M P H I S . E D U

“It’s humbling, and I’m excited,” she says. for a large campus, that community college “Getting this opportunity just shows me that was the right starting point if she was to it pays off to persevere and go on no matter succeed. “I was actually unsure if I could how unreal or scary it may seem. When I even succeed there!” she says of Southwest started my first semester at the University of Tennessee Community College. “But my Memphis, I was scared I might not succeed. parents kept giving me moral support. They Just like in junior college. But I did. I rememcouldn’t help me fill out all the forms and ber that as I take on this next step.” help me figure out a lot of things — but they But, no matter where the road takes her — could tell me I could do it.” and where hasn’t it taken her? — Noor always And she did. Receiving two scholarships credits her parents for laying the groundwork for from the University of Memphis after her perseverance. “They always said I could accomperformance at Southwest, Noor found she plish many things if I believed,” she says. flourished. And maybe it started with them just believBut she also found time to work with World ing in her. Relief Memphis and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. “I saw that I was a good person to be an advo(Eric Butterman is a Texas-based freelance cate for immigrants through my experience,” journalist whose work has appeared in more she says. “I could relate to their fears, their need than 50 publications, including Glamour and to have someone stand up for them. Caseworkers ESPN.com.) may be the only people they know. They need to have people there for their interests.” She could even share her experience at what might be their FATIMA NOOR is one of three U of M recent ultimate goal — as she became a naturalized citizen herself last graduates to receive Presidential Appointments. The year. other two are: Between that and graduatCHIMENE OKERE has begun work as a special ing with a degree in psychology assistant in the Office of Capital Access at the U.S. this spring, her story would be a Small Business Administration. His responsibilities beautiful one. A miraculous one. include assisting small-business owners with acquiring If it ended there. financial resources and managing a community But this one stretches beyond a development portfolio that focuses on economically cap-and-gown ceremony. Beyond disadvantaged clients. He majored in economics with a Noor’s wildest imagination. minor in Italian. This one reaches Washington. With a Presidential TAYLOR DODD is a confidential assistant to Appointment within the Obama the director of the Department of the Treasury. Administration, Noor has been She is working in financial accounting and budget named a special assistant in the management. Dodd majored in accounting with a Office of the Director for U.S. minor in international business. She was very active on Citizenship and Immigration campus, and was selected Miss University of Memphis Services in the Department of in 2013. Homeland Security. Her full-time position lasts until January 2017. FA L L 2 014

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University of Memphis Fall Magazine

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University of Memphis Fall Magazine