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WATCH: Somali refugee earns medical degree from SUNY Upstate

Sunday May 7, 2023


SYRACUSE N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Zacharia Mohamed is one of many Upstate Medical students who will cross the stage at the SRC Arena Sunday, May 7.

Born in Somalia, Mohamed spent 10 years in a refugee camp in Kenya before coming to the United States. Arriving first in Arizona, relocating to Utica and finally settling in Syracuse.

“I didn’t know any English, I didn’t have any formal education from before,” Mohamed said. “I didn’t know how to write at all I didn’t even know my name.”

He escaped a war-torn country, and now he’s earning his MD.

“I’m happy obviously, I’m also extremely grateful because I understand how privileged I am to be in the position I’m in,” Mohamed said.

Mohamed’s plan as a physician is to work with underserved communities. He will complete his residency at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J.


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