From Somalian refugee to computer science scholar



Mo has faced many obstacles in his path toward a college education.

“At Renton Technical College I am empowered. I am seen as an individual with abilities and strengths. I have been challenged, pushed and constantly put in positions just outside of my comfort zone, but with every tool necessary to succeed.”
--- Mo Abdullahi

His mother fled civil war in Somalia and arrived in the United States as a refugee when Mo was only a few months old.  Even though she spoke English and had a college degree from a university in Somalia, she had to start over in the U.S. “She was part of Somalia’s ‘last graduating class,” said Mo, “but a college degree doesn’t matter when your country ceases to exist.”

When Mo was 16, he and his mother started their college journey together. “I was in Running Start and she enrolled in the early childhood development program at Green River Community College,” Mo said.

Seeing his mother graduate inspired Mo to continue his college education at RTC. He is one of five recipients of the Washington State Association of College Trustees (ACT) Transforming Lives Award and the RTC Foundation Steve Hanson Student Leadership Scholarship.

“The computer science program absolutely changed my life,” said Mo, “And this summer my family will get to see me walk across the stage at commencement and graduate with honors."

Photo of Mo Abdullahi.