Mother-daughter duo, Mahlet Assefa and Fisson Abraham started at Tech together and will end their journey this month when they graduate and take their next steps to enter the health care field.
Assefa and Abraham enrolled at Tech in 2018. Three years later, Assefa is a Health Informatics graduate and Abraham a Biomedical Sciences graduate. The two are excited about their future, which includes a career in medical coding for mom and a four-year scholarship to Oral Roberts University to study nursing for daughter.
In 2003, Assefa and her husband moved from Ethiopia to Stillwater with Abraham, then just nine months old. Now, a mother of five, Assefa has held the titles of stay-at-home mom and bookkeeper for the family trucking business for the last 16 years. With her youngest entering school, the timing was right for her to train for a new career.
“For me it was not all about the money but more about a career,” Assefa said. “I have always wanted to educate myself, but at the same time it can be so expensive. Meridian was the right choice for me. I think what makes Meridian so special is you come here and get straight to the point in the coursework.”
Both Assefa and Abraham are grateful for their time at Tech. “In our house we take education very seriously. We try to be the better version of ourselves. We try our best and go for excellence in whatever we do,” said Abraham.
“It’s amazing because there aren’t a lot of opportunities in Ethiopia where you can access education this easily,” Abraham added. “We are so fortunate to get to go to class, graduate together and begin our futures.” Looking toward her future, Abraham plans to attend medical school upon graduating from ORU.
Though their coursework was different, their common interest in the medical field meant an opportunity to learn medical terminology together. “I could ask her questions, and she would help me. It was nice to have someone in my house to discuss it with,” said Abraham. “Going from the high school to here was a new experience, but it made it an easier transition.” The pair was also able to ride to campus together and grab an occasional lunch.
“I actually wanted to be a nurse because I have always been interested in the medical field,” Assefa said. “There is always change and progress in the medical field, so learning about medical coding is a great opportunity.”
The family interest in the medical field extends to Abraham’s younger sister, Beza, who will start the Health Careers program at Tech this fall. Abraham said her entire family loves to learn, even an eight-year-old brother who hopes to one day enroll in the Pre-Engineering program at Tech.
“It is amazing how God has blessed us – with kids, houses, cars, everything.” Assefa remarked. “We are all very thankful to be here. We really are living the American dream.”