Mentor, Ahlaam, hopes to guide her mentees to live their dreams


A woman in hijab standing in a field
Ahlaam Abdulwali, GGAL Mentor

Ahlaam Abdulwali is an undergraduate student at Macalester College studying Neuroscience with a concentration in Community and Global Health. Ahlaam has been a GGAL mentor since Fall 2021 and utilizes her mentorship as a way to ensure girls of immigrant/refugee background like herself have all the tools and resources for success. Read more about Ahlaam and her mentorship below!



Why did you choose your major?

I chose my major because I have always been interested in learning the science behind our brains. In particular, I wanted to study neuroscience to learn more about the mechanisms of opioid addiction, so I could eventually research treatments for addiction. I have also always been a science nerd and love learning! There is never an end to learning with neuroscience.


[I] want to be a familiar face for black children that go to the doctor's office. I never had a black pediatrician as a kid, and representation is incredibly important for people to feel comfortable seeking healthcare!

What are your plans for after college or what is your dream career?

After college, I would like to become a pediatrician! I love working with kids, and I love medicine. I've wanted to become a pediatrician since I was a kid, and the more I learn about the career, the more I love it. I also want to be a familiar face for black children that go to the doctor's office. I never had a black pediatrician as a kid, and representation is incredibly important for people to feel comfortable seeking healthcare!


What drew you to mentor at WISE?

I was drawn to mentoring with the WISE program after reading the mission statement of the GGAL program. As a daughter of refugees, I know how difficult it is to navigate the college application process, and I wanted to help these girls in any way I could. The GGAL program supports immigrant and refugee girls, and I know how thankful I would have been if I were a part of this program in high school!


My goal as a mentor is to help the girls in this program succeed and thrive after high school. I want each of the girls I work with to have access to any information they need to achieve their dreams.


What were your personal or professional goals as a WISE mentor or intern?

My goal as a mentor is to help the girls in this program succeed and thrive after high school. I want each of the girls I work with to have access to any information they need to achieve their dreams. I want them to know that their identity as an immigrant or refugee is not a hindrance to their success but that it enriches their achievements.


What did you learn or take away from your experience with WISE?

One takeaway from my experience at WISE is that the next generation of immigrant and refugee girls is filled with many bright minds that will accomplish so much in the future. These girls are the next nurses, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and teachers. They have so much ahead of them and will change the world for the better!


Please share a memory or experience that was significant to you during your mentorship/internship.

On my first day at GGAL, I met a student that was in the process of learning English and felt more comfortable speaking in Spanish. I took four years of Spanish in high school, but I thought I had forgotten most of it. I surprisingly could fully understand and speak to her in Spanish! It brought me so much joy to be able to communicate and connect with her in her native language!