Major: Biology

Hometown: Rockaway

An Education Designed for Success

“I’m leaving CCM knowing I got accepted into one of the top Ivy League schools in the nation. What I gained at CCM has left me feeling like there isn’t anything in the world I can’t conquer. I’m so grateful, so very grateful.”

Middle eastern man in plaid shirt with green tractor behind himAbdallah Abualhuda, of Rockaway, is no stranger to adversity. At age 3, he was struck by a SUV and recently had to have neck surgery to correct some of the injuries he sustained. When he tried to obtain a green card to stay in the U.S., he ended up in deportation proceedings based on his Middle Eastern roots – it was shortly after 9/11. His daughter, now age 4, was born extremely preterm at 30 weeks, weighing 1 pound 8 ounces. And his job as a charge nurse in a nursing home found him working on the frontlines as an LPN during a pandemic. A total of 27 patients died.

Yet, despite all the adversity, Abualhuda, 35, never stopped trying to better himself and the lives of others. Now, as member of the Class of 2021, he is graduating magna cum laude with his associate degree in biology and an offer to attend Columbia University. As he says, “Every time life gave me a challenge, I applied them and used them as fuel. That's how I do it. I use it as fuel.”

Abualhuda explains that he did not do well in high school and when he first started college he initially put in minimal effort as he was not certain he would be able to remain in the U.S. Fortunately, with the help of attorneys he was able to stop the deportation and eventually gain citizenship. Then when he enrolled at CCM because he “wanted to discover his true calling,” he found not only that he can excel but that he also possess a real aptitude for science and math.

At CCM, the person who once had little confidence in his academic abilities discovered a supportive environment and professors who helped him to succeed beyond what he thought possible. It also was at CCM that a professor informed him about the area of science – biomathematics – that focuses on the two fields he is most passionate about. Excited about working in that field as a researcher with the goal of “helping people on a large scale,” Abualhuda managed to work full-time on the frontlines during a pandemic, attend college, care for his daughter and wife, and gain acceptance to Rutgers, Ramapo and Columbia to earn his bachelor’s in biomathematics. He has decided to attend Ramapo and then pursue a graduate degree in biomathematics.

“My experience at CCM is one of the most exceptional experiences I have had in life,” he says. “I’m leaving CCM knowing I got accepted into one of the top Ivy League schools in the nation. What I gained at CCM has left me feeling like there isn’t anything in the world I can’t conquer. I’m so grateful, so very grateful.”