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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mesa College Somalia Refugee Wins Prestigious Science Award

By Peggy Pico
Wednesday, December 29, 2010

SAN DIEGO — A Somali refugee who is a student at Mesa College, won a prestigious national science award for cancer research.

It’s been a fast road to success said the 26-year-old student, who didn’t know how to read English when he arrived in the U.S. just five years ago

“I came to the United States in 2005, I could barely read English, I didn’t know nothing.”

Since then, Mohamed Musse, or Moe as he likes to be called, got himself into Mesa College. He also garnered a summer internship in the UCSD Chemistry Department.

It was during that internship that Moe developed a research project to stop cancer cell growth.

“This could ultimately lead to a cure for cancer” said Moe.

His cancer project won him a biochemistry award at the National Biomedical Research Conference for Minority students.

Moe competed against hundreds of other science students from 270 top research universities and colleges in the U.S.

That made him nervous.

“I was not expecting it, because there was a lot of huge universities. They called my name and I was like, ‘Wow! This is unbelievable,’ ” said Moe.

With an award in hand, and scholarship money in his pocket, Moe said he feels like he’s living the scientific and the American dream.

“It means a lot to me, I feel like I know what I’m doing in the scientific world.”

Moe is enrolled in the Mesa College “Bridges to Baccalaureate Program.” It’s designed to help underrepresented groups earn a bachelor’s degree. Moe has also applied to UCSD in hopes of becoming a doctor, a researcher or both.


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