Talk with Nasro Ali ’11

Nasro Ali '11

Nasro Ali is a criminal justice major who was born
in Somalia and lived there until she was 6 years old.

Do you remember Somalia at all?

What I remember is the food, my family and afternoon
naps. The whole city – including all the shops and
stores – would shut down so all the workers could go
home to nap and eat lunch.

How do you think your background relates to your
career choice?

Coming from a country where there is little or no law,
you see a lot of injustice. Also, to see the older adult population
displaced from their original culture or unable to
reside in their own home at retirement age is upsetting.
I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was 6 years old. Justice
and finding that for others has become a passion of mine.

What’s been your experience as a Muslim in Maine?

Since 9/11, I have experienced some negative things
about my race and religion. However, 99 percent of the
time, everyone is caring and understanding. There will
always be that 1 percent of the population that isn’t as
cultured or educated. There was only one incident of
that on this campus. St. Joe’s was amazing in dealing
with the situation. I don’t let those experiences define
who I am. I refuse to allow hate to live within me
because I see that is what brought my country down.
Choosing to come to St. Joe’s was not about the
color or the religion of the campus. It was what it had
to offer me academically. Also, I really feel that St.
Joe’s does a great job about not imposing religion on
the students.

What advice would you give other refugees about
higher education in America?

My mother always told me it is possible to come to
America and achieve the dream, but not without higher
education. My mother is such an inspiration. She came
to this country with nothing. She was unable to read,
write, speak the language, and could not to drive. She
supported herself and children without the help of
many others. I want to be able to provide for her in
her golden years for what she has done for me.

Where did you do your internship?

I worked at the Portland City District Court on civil
cases, abuse and divorces. I was also able to sit in on
an attempted murder trial. It has been amazing to see
the different styles that lawyers use. Also, everyone
is willing to help make sure you’re getting the right
experiences. My judges were helping me with studying
for the LSATs. Others at court incorporated a trial
experience piece on foster care, because I am doing my
senior research project on children in foster care.

What’s your favorite thing about St. Joe’s?

The professors here are amazing. They are personable,
they want to see you succeed, and they are willing to
help you seek out your goals. Not many schools can
say students have those types of relationships with the
professors. I’m looking for graduate schools that have
the same student-professor relationships that St. Joe’s
has offered me.