Student spotlight – Sandra Nassif
 
Sandra Nassif will be graduating magna cum laude this month from the University of Houston, but she hasn’t gone on too many job interviews so far.

That’s because she plans on moving back to her homeland of Egypt and beginning her career there in management information systems, and the sheer distance makes job hunting difficult.

“I’m applying for jobs right now, but companies are kind of confused by my resume because I’m here in America right now,” said Nassif. “Things will really get started once I get back home.”

Nassif had never been to the United States until a few years ago. When it was time for her to go to college, she chose the University of Houston because she had an aunt and several cousins already living here. It was an idea that came together rather quickly.

“I decided to give it a try and see if it was going to work out. If it did, then I would stay. If not, then I would go back home,” she said.

Coming to Texas, she did not have any predispositions of what life would be like here, but she didn’t expect it to be like how television and the movies portray it, with everyone riding horses and wearing cowboy hats. One aspect to Houston that surprised her was the cultural diversity of the people.

“There’s so many different types of people who live here,” Nassif said. “The same diversity is also true here at UH.”

In Egypt, she attended a private school where she was taught English starting in the third grade. Her first languages were French and Arabic.

Attending school in the United States has been difficult at times as she often worries about her family as her home country goes through turmoil in the wake of a political revolution.

“I would freak out after hearing about something on the news. Once, I heard that they burned the houses on the street where my parents live. So I called my mom at 3 o’clock in the morning to see what happened and it turned out nothing was wrong,” Nassif said.

She has held a part-time student job in Plant Operations for the past two years. As a student worker, she does clerk work, but she gets assigned projects from time to time. In addition, she has been a volunteer coordinator for two years for the Texas Association of Physical Plant Administrators.

Although her degree will be in management information systems, that was not going to be the case when she first got here. She originally was going to pursue architecture, but after a semester she made the switch and hasn’t looked back.

She hopes to land a good entry-level job in Egypt, then work her way up.

“I am looking forward to one day being a project manager or a consultant,” she said.