Health CORE Alumni Profile: Maha Siddiqui

Authored By: wells438 01/03/2023

Trailblazer Maha Siddiqui ‘19 doesn't shy away from breaking new ground.

Portrait of Maha SiddiquiAs a member of the inaugural Health CORE Living Learning Community, she was among the students to help faculty and administrators develop this integral UMR program.

“In Minnesota and the Midwest, cultural and financial diversity, especially in health care, is lacking,” says Maha. “Health CORE was made so this group of students from different cultural, educational or financial backgrounds could help each other in a community that understands and uplifts each other.”

While not a first-generation college student, Maha is the child of immigrants to the U.S., and a Muslim woman who experienced health challenges in her youth.

As part of the inaugural class, Maha and her peers worked with the Health CORE Living Learning Coordinator to develop the program. They provided feedback, worked out challenges and helped shape the overall direction. “It was difficult because when you enter it, you would hope it would already be established, but we also got to help build the community in a way that we knew would work.”

In the process, she developed strong bonds with her fellow Health CORE members – something for which she is very grateful today.

She also credits the Health CORE community, and UMR faculty and staff, for helping her find the right career path for her.

Like many incoming UMR students, Maha started the health science program intending to pursue a pre-med track. Then, like many others, she realizedfor her. Fortunately, she says, UMR’s program is designed to provide the best base for many different health care careers, and she could easily transition without delaying graduation. A key part to finding the right career, she adds, were the professional development courses required through the Center for Learning Innovation (CLI), which introduce students to a variety of career paths.

While Maha had reached what she calls a crisis point when she realized going to medical school was not right for her, the CLI classes had introduced her to pharmacy, and she soon discovered a passion for clinical pharmacy. Discerning the right path was challenging, she says, but she had immense support from staff, faculty and peers. “I was very unsure of what I was doing. Was I making the right choice? But I was overwhelmed by the support I received. It wasn’t just me making the decision myself.”

While she was researching pharmacy, her Student Success Coach, Jenn Hooke, connected her with UMR alumni in pharmacy, and a professor connected her with a dean of a pharmacy school so she could learn more and hear more firsthand experiences. Her Health CORE community of students also stepped in. “They told me what they saw in me that would make me a good pharmacist – I felt more confident in my decision because of that.”

Today, Maha is pursuing a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), one of the leading pharmacy schools in the nation. She feels solid in her career path, which she credits to her UMR education. “Coming to UIC, I was better prepared, thanks to my educational experience at UMR.”

Read more stories from the Fall 2022 Alumni Magazine: The Kettle.