A former Kenyan refugee, Isnino Iftin, is set to give her commencement speech at University at Buffalo as she receives her diploma this Sunday.
Iftin has not only beat the odds to become the best in her field but has also become the first in her extended family to graduate from college.
She was also accepted into a doctoral program in education at UB, a place where she initially did not appreciate.
Speaking on her achievements, Iftin mentioned: “My ultimate goal is to run a school.”
At 23, she becomes one of the thousands of students from UB who are graduating from the college area this weekend.
Born to Somalia parents, Iftin’s family moved to Kenya during the civil war in her motherland.
With polygamy being allowed in her community, her father, mother, her many brothers as well as his father’s other wives all settled at Dadaab refugee camp.
Narrating her childhood years, Iftin notes that, together with her siblings, they had to walk at least 2 kilometers to get water for their household needs. She adds that she began schooling late.
Her family were later privileged to move to the United States when the chance occurred, which was very competitive. They would then settle in Baltimore from 2004 to 2011.
Despite ‘fighting’ the need for their family to move from Baltimore, Iftin’s father stated that he had relatives in Buffalo and therefore the family moved again.
“I hated it,” she exclaims asserting that the winter weather and the sometimes too-tightly-knit Somali community on the city’s West Side.
Due to the resettlement, Iftin was later enrolled at Riverside High School and consequently became an ambassador for the Say Yes Buffalo scholarship program.
She would later join the University at Buffalo to pursue psychology and linguistics. Following her distinguished credentials, she will be commencing her work towards acquiring her PhD in Education Culture, Policy and Society.