Alaa Abdeldaiem remembers her father’s stories.
A physical therapist, he talked about the patients he treated and how much pleasure he took in seeing them regain strength and return to fulfilling lives. Tales from her father's career made a lasting impression and helped Alaa choose a path that led her from Crown Point, Indiana, to IUPUI.
“I chose IUPUI because I’ve always loved Indianapolis,” says Alaa, the first in her family to attend college in the United States. “The kinesiology program really drew me in, and I knew that coming to a larger university could help me explore other things too, including my interest in journalism.”
Although excited to move to Indianapolis, Alaa, whose parents came to the U.S. from Egypt, admits coming to IUPUI—venturing outside the “comfort zone” of home—was challenging at first. The turning point was a first-year seminar course that introduced her to a special group of elementary school students. As part of the service learning opportunity, Alaa and three exercise science classmates visited Indianapolis Public Schools 34 every Monday for six weeks to help the students train for the city’s Monumental Marathon 5K event.