Page 29 - RU RWJ Medicine Magazine • Winter 2021
P. 29

My Purpose,
My Path:
Aleksandra Hussain ‘24 Overcomes Obstacles
From Foster Care to Medical School, in Her Pursuit of Helping Others
Onthe surface, you would never know how hard life has been for Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School first-year student Aleksandra Hussain ‘24. She has a bright smile and is upbeat and confident, yet humble. Aleksandra shares her story with Robert Wood Johnson Medicine with the hope of inspiring others.
Aleksandra’s parents met shortly after her mother moved to the United States from Poland and her father from Pakistan. Unfortunately, the family was not in their home in Elizabeth, N.J., long before her dad was deported back to Pakistan, leaving her mom to raise her and her younger sister alone.
Aleksandra’s mom was a nurse in Poland, but in the United States she was only able to get work cleaning and doing odd jobs. As it became harder to pay rent and put food on the table, the family visited soup kitchens for many of their meals.
“My mom worked hard to provide a stable living situation for us. She always did her best to take care of me and my sister. Although I knew we were struggling,
I only have good memories of visiting the soup kitchens. The workers were always nice and let me and my sister pick out clothes and toys. It was a warm place to be.”
Eventually, her mother’s efforts were not enough.
At 7, Aleksandra and her 5-year-old sister Gloria were taken out of their mother’s care. The girls were eventu- ally placed in eight different foster homes and one
By Lauren S. Peele-Marshall
women’s shelter. They endured years of physical and emotional abuse.
“Whatever situation we found ourselves in, we tried to do our best to get through it and
despite how bad it was, we were together and that was all that mattered,” said Aleksandra.
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