Naaman OmarNaaman Omar

From across the world in Mombasa, Kenya, Naaman Omar found himself drawn to Mount Allison. From here, he plans to earn a biochemistry degree that will set him on a track to work as a researcher, ideally in genetics or oncology.

A graduate of the Aga Khan Academy, Omar is one of this year’s recipients of the Bell Scholarship, one of Mount Allison’s most prestigious entrance awards. He says he chose the University for its small class sizes and teacher-student ratio.

Beyond academics, Omar has already started immersing himself in student life at Mount A. He has volunteered with the Sackville Refugee Response Coalition and says he’s eagerly awaiting the arrival of a third family being helped by the coalition because he’ll be able to use his skills as a fellow Swahili speaker to help them get acclimatized.

The volunteerism is a continuation of other initiatives he was involved with back home, including an organization called “Everyday Africa,” which aims to dispel stereotypes of Africa through photography. 

“I'm very passionate about ongoing international issues such as the global refugee crisis,” says Omar.

Omar also connected with a mentor himself, a program that partners newcomers with older students to help in the transition.

“Moving to a new place is never really easy,” he says. “Especially when you’re moving from a city with over a million people and a Muslim majority to Sackville. My mentor is very helpful and approachable, which has made the transition so much easier. The people here are very friendly, welcoming, and also understanding.”

Meet other 2016-17 Bell Scholars