Scholars build home for peer

BY ABE TEKIPPE | JULY 20, 2009 7:15 AM

Click here to view an exclusive photo slideshow.

(opens in new window)

Next month, UI senior Omer Elgaali will move into a new home — one his peers helped construct.

Students participating in the UI’s Summer Research Opportunities Program/McNair Scholars Program banded together to help one of their own.

Sixteen students and three staff members from the UI Graduate College’s Office of Graduate Ethnic Inclusion — the office that organizes the program — spent most of July 17 constructing a home for Elgaali and his family. The family applied for the home through Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity.

“It was great,” Elgaali said about his peers’ work, and he is “excited” about moving into the residence at 2442 Aster Ave.

Elgaali is one of three UI participants in the research and scholars program, focusing his studies on mechanical engineering. The other 42 participants come from numerous institutions, including some as far away as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The program was designed to give underrepresented undergraduate students from all over the country an opportunity to pursue research opportunities in preparation for graduate school.

Mahmoud Siddig, Elgaali’s second cousin, said he considers Elgaali to be “one of the hardest working students.”

“He’s known to be in the library almost 24/7,” he said. “When you call him, you don’t even have to ask him where he is; you just know he’s at the library.”

Elgaali said he was grateful for the work of everyone involved.

Tarrell Portman, Diana Bryant, and Joe Henry, the three staff members who volunteered, said they used some of their vacation time to be able to work on the project.

“It was definitely worth it,” Bryant said.

In their eyes, working alongside the students, who are busy preparing for a national conference July 24-26, was a rewarding experience.

And while the students participating in the program are undoubtedly book smart — accounting for just a handful of the program’s nearly 700 applicants — using power tools was not something everyone was familiar with.

“I think the students really were enthusiastic,” Portman said. “They were eager to learn; many of them had never picked up tools or done anything along those lines.”

Bryant and Henry were also quick to commend the students’ efforts.

“It was a really good opportunity for them to just be able to participate in something for the community outside of the university,” Bryant said. “I was really excited to see that they were willing to do that.”

Although Henry, like many of the other volunteers, had never worked with Habitat for Humanity prior to July 17, he said he has always had respect for the organization and hopes to help out again in the future.

“It makes you feel good when you can give assistance and support where it’s really needed,” he said. “It’s not about just helping oneself; in helping others, we all win.”

> Share your thoughts! Click here to write a Letter to the Editor.

comments powered by Disqus
Daily Iowan Advertising
Today's Display Ads | Today's Classifieds | Advertising Info

Follow the DI through:

Sponsored Links  
T-Shirt Design  
Insurance Leads Charlotte Web Design
Health Insurance Leads Home Equity Loans
Home Service Guides  
Life Insurance DMI Furniture
Custom Magnets Buy a text ad


Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.