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IU Northwest siblings have found home on campus

Nov. 3, 2016

As IU Northwest prepares to celebrate homecoming, siblings who are alumni and current students reflect on how campus became a place they could call home thanks to its size and diversity.

Sameera and Sophia Raziuddin are two recent graduates, and their younger siblings, Fareesa and Bilal Siddiqui, are current students. The siblings, from Munster, have different last names because of some technicalities stemming from their parents' immigration to the U.S. Their older sister, Aisha, began college at IU Northwest but graduated from Purdue University with an engineering degree.

Fareesa and Bilal Siddiqui

Fareesa and Bilal Siddiqui are siblings and students at IU Northwest. | PHOTO COURTESY OF IU NORTHWEST

And there’s more to come.

“My brother, Bilal, began attending just this semester,” Sophia said, “and I am sure one day my youngest brothers Owais and Junaid will also make their way to IU Northwest when it’s their time. 

Fareesa speaks for the group when she says, “The whole university is very familiar to all of us and has played a large part in our lives.”

Sameera graduated in 2013 with a degree in chemistry and is attending medical school at St. George’s University in the Caribbean country of Grenada. She hopes to return to Northwest Indiana to practice in her own community.

“Going through schooling at IU Northwest, I loved the small class sizes,” Sameera said. “We knew all of our classmates and all of our professors knew us. We were able to meet with professors for help, and they would actually know who we are and be able to help us on a more personal level. Even when we joined clubs, the coordinators personally knew us. We felt like a big family with our friends at the school and being able to have real conversations with the faculty.”

Sameera has fond memories of hanging out on the comfy couches in the third-floor lounge of Marram Hall. She was also active in extracurricular activities.

“I was able to grow so much in a way that I feel wouldn’t have been possible if I went to a larger school,” Sameera said.

When Sophia began at IU Northwest in 2010, Sameera was already a pre-med student, like her, so “that was a plus,” as she said.

A 2014 graduate with a degree in biology, Sophia is now a second-year medical student at Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica. She hopes to become an endocrinologist.

“What gives me the most pride in the school is its diversity, and it goes beyond just having multiple minorities represented,” Sophia said. “IU Northwest celebrates the unique cultures of all the students that attend the school. There are events specifically showcasing different religions, cultures, genders and sexual orientations as well as bringing attention to the struggles of each group.” 

Sameera and Sophia Raziuddin

Sameera and Sophia Raziuddin are siblings and recent graduates of IU Northwest. | PHOTO COURTESY OF IU NORTHWEST

When Sophia was a junior, she served as an officer for the Muslim Student Association, the student group that organizes the annual Islam Awareness Week.

“It was the type of moment that doesn’t happen often enough when two people are so open-minded about differing opinions, and IU Northwest made it possible,” Sophia said.

 Fareesa is pursuing a degree in psychology and intends to graduate in 2017. She plans to attend optometry school in fall 2017. She is busy tutoring and working in the Math Lab, in addition to her involvement in the Muslim Student Association, Student Ambassadors and soon the RedHawk’s Nest Food Pantry.

“One of the best aspects of the university is the ability to get to know your professors,” Fareesa said. “It may seem like a small advantage, but when compared to larger universities, it really stands out.”

Fareesa has been giving Bilal, the youngest sibling and IU Northwest freshman, tips to help him navigate the college experience.

A biology major already involved in the Muslim Student Association and the Pre-Professional Student Club, Bilal has his sights set on medical school as well.

“It’s helpful to have older siblings who are familiar with college life and IU Northwest,” Bilal said, “but it is a real change from high school and something to get used to.”

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