Monday, April 30, 2012

From Palestine to Philadelphia: One professor’s worldwide mission to educate

THE TRAVELING PROFESSOR: A Palestine native, Ahmed Omar
is now the Program Manager of the Peirce Accounting program
How much does education mean to you? For Ahmed Omar, it was important enough to leave his family and travel halfway across the world to earn his degree.

As you might know, Ahmed -- a Peirce grad himself -- joined us in June 2011 as Program Manager and Assistant Professor in our new Accounting degree program. But before he found his way to Peirce, he had to overcome the war and politics in his home country of Palestine that were standing in the way of his dreams of a college education.

Ahmed wrote a post about his journey from Palestine to Philadelphia and how he found his way back to Peirce. Read on to learn about how his experiences in Philadelphia enabled him to achieve his educational dreams.

From the day I arrived in the United States, Peirce College has played a huge part in my journey…

My name is Ahmed Omar, and I am the Accounting Program Manager at Peirce College. I am a new member to the Accounting Program faculty; however, I am not new to Peirce College. I came to the United States of America in the year 2000, from the war-torn country of Palestine. I left behind my mother and my 9 brothers and sisters. My main goal was to complete the education that was cut short by war and politics, and support my family back home. The university I was attending was closed indefinitely because of the violence and bloodshed. It was no longer safe to make the daily commute to work and school, and people were not willing to take the risk of leaving their homes and getting killed in the street.

I was afforded the opportunity to come to the United States of America to help my brother with his restaurant franchises in the tri-state area, which I agreed to do, as long as I was able to attend school to earn my degree. Education is truly a privilege that many take for granted. The deprivation of freedom and opportunity to complete my education is what has taught me to appreciate and understand the importance of a good education. It has driven me to become dedicated to improving the educational opportunities and experiences of others.

When I came to the United States, I began working with my brother in the Philadelphia area. I wanted to waste no time, so the very first week I was here I went searching for universities and colleges that I could attend, while at the same time help my brother without creating a conflict. I found Peirce College. I registered for the Business Administration, concentration in Accounting program, and attended classes the very next day. I graduated in 2003, with a bachelor’s degree. It felt great to earn the degree, but I was not satisfied. I felt that I could do more. So, I researched master’s programs in the Philadelphia area and found LaSalle University. I worked very hard, and completed my Master’s in Business with a Concentration in Accounting by May 2005.

At that time, I was still working with my brother and putting in very long hours. I was obligated to stay connected to school, education, and helping others. I applied to various community colleges and colleges in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I was hired as an adjunct instructor at many different institutions, where I taught business and accounting courses. I managed to run multiple franchise locations at the same time. I was very busy. I got married in 2003 to my wife Miriam, and had my first daughter Aya in 2006.

I became a full time instructor at Burlington County College, and began my DBA journey with Argosy University in 2008, with a concentration in Accounting. I am currently in the dissertation phase, and plan to graduate with a DBA in May 2012. I participated in many different programs to better Burlington County College and the programs that they offered. I became a Certified Fraud Examiner and was a member of the SCORE Council, where I counseled small-business owners and soon-to-be entrepreneurs. My son, Adam, was born in 2009. At this point, I earned a certificate and became a Certified Peer Reviewer for online courses with Quality Matters (QM), and even worked closely with McGraw-Hill to create a textbook and program that was custom for BCC. I reviewed accounting textbooks that McGraw-Hill offered.

I was proud to participate in the development of courses, improvement of programs, and in the creation of scholarship and awards for exceptional students at BCC. It was nice to see the awards and scholarships go to dedicated and deserving students. I felt that I could offer more for business and accounting students and applied for the position at Peirce College in Philadelphia, to become the Program Manager for the Accounting Program. When offered the job, I knew that it was the right thing to do to give back to the community and school that provided me the foundation to grow to where I am today. I am confident that Peirce College is the place for me, and every other sincere, dedicated business/accounting student.

One of my main goals here at Peirce is to align with Peirce College’s mission to provide quality education by taking the Accounting Program to a higher level within the region.