Pandemic nearly jeopardized working mother's dream of graduating with degree

Rutgers Business School’s Finish Line Fund was like “an open door to relief” that enabled Nermen Abdalshaheed to reach her goal. Support the Finish Line Fund on Giving Day, March 23, 2022.

Like many working moms, Nermen Abdalshaheed found her world upended when the pandemic struck. Her daughters, Joys and Jana, now 11 and six, were at home for remote school, needing supervision.

“It made it impossible for me to work,” Abdalshaheed said.

It was as if another ball was thrown into the juggle Abdalshaheed was already managing as she studied at Rutgers Business School, raised her girls and worked as a sales associate at Goodwill NYNJ.

Rutgers Business School graduate Nermen Abdalshaheed
Nermen Abdalshaheed

When her paycheck was cut, Abdalshaheed struggled to cover her expenses. Then Rutgers Business School’s Finish Line Fund came to the rescue, offering her $1,000.

That was like an open door to give me some relief,” said Abdalshaheed, who graduated in May 2021 with a degree in supply chain management.  “Having that offer was such kindness. It took a huge pain or hardness from me.”

The Finish Line Fund was created by Rutgers Business School Dean Lei Lei in 2016 as a way of providing help to students who encounter financial hardships as they approach graduation. On Giving Day, March 23, support Rutgers Business School-Newark students and donate to the Finish Line Fund.

Abdalshaheed immigrated from Egypt in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Ain Shams University in Cairo.

She earned an associate’s degree in business from Hudson County Community College and then transferred to Rutgers Business School in Newark. “Being a Rutgers graduate, it’s like a star or highlight in your resume,” said Abdalshaheed. “It is opening the door for me to find my dream job.”

She is looking for a job related to supply chain management, ideally in the medical field.

“Being a Rutgers graduate, it’s like a star or highlight in your resume. It is opening the door for me to find my dream job.” - Nermen Abdalshaheed

Abdalshaheed remembers how much Rutgers helped her realize her dream and wants students struggling like she was to receive similar assistance. “It’s been an honor to be a part of this family. I really appreciate the chance that they gave me.”

After finishing her degree, Abdalshaheed is a role model for her two daughters. “I tell them if you have a goal and insist on it, there’s a huge percentage you can get it,” she said.

March 23, 2022 is Giving Day at Rutgers University. Support Rutgers Business School by contributing to the Finish Line Fund.

On Giving Day, donations must be made before 11:59 p.m. Your contribution may be any amount as low as $5.

RBS Finish Line Fund - New Brunswick

RBS Finish Line Fund - Newark

- Story by Sharon Waters

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