Fathimath Shafa, Mental Health Technician/Certified Nursing Aide

Hometown: Baa. Dharavandhoo, Maldives

Current City: Columbia, MO

Graduation Year: 2018

Major: Biochemistry (Biology)

What is your current career position?

Mental Health Technician/CNA

Please describe your current work.

I provide continuing treatment and rehabilitation to patients, record observable changes in patient behaviour/physical conditions and perform basic nursing care. I also shadow doctors and physician assistants.

What are your future goals?

My personal goals are to become an exemplary physician and to start a clinic in my country that provides exceptional health care to the people of my island. I also plan on continuing my work with MedShare, an organization that provides biomedical equipment to countries in need around the world. Ultimately, I want to be able to financially support students from Maldives who want to further their education in health care fields or science. Outside of healthcare, I want to travel as much as possible.

In terms of your professional life, what would you say is your overarching purpose today?

To empower women in healthcare and to make a positive impact through my work.

Did your liberal arts education allow you to uncover particular passions that you’ve carried into your career?

The natural science courses I took at Westminster prepared me to be certain of what I wanted to do as a career. And social sciences helped me get a holistic understanding of issues we face in society. I had many opportunities to learn outside the classrooms through community engagement and service. I believe having an all-rounded education is so important to care for patients, with empathy.

Were any relationships you formed at Westminster particularly influential in helping you find clarity of purpose?

The relationships I formed with professors, especially in the biology department, helped me find clarity, as they guided me to the right direction.

What did you learn about leadership while at Westminster, and how has that translated into your life since graduation?

A leader not only leads by example but also encourages and supports others to do their best in everything. At Westminster, I got the opportunities to lead different organizations and events and learn from other student leaders. These opportunities have helped me be confident in professional settings, and also the leadership skills have helped me in my personal life.

What does success mean to you?

Being able to do what I love, finding happiness in what I do and bringing positive change in other people’s lives mean success to me.

What is it about Westminster that makes it the kind of community that empowers students to discover their purpose and find success?

Strong coursework, exceptionally helpful professors and leadership opportunities.

Favorite Westminster faculty member?

I cannot just say one faculty member. Dr.Pat Kirby, Dr.Perry, Dr.Bob, Dr.Amspoker, Dr.Holliday, Dr.Kenney-Hunt, Dr.Zumwalt, Dr.Mayne and Dr.Hansert are all favorite faculty members who helped me immensely to succeed in college. I met Dr. Pat Kirby in India (when I was in high school), and he described Westminster so beautifully, I had to come see it for myself.

Favorite spots on campus?

Coulter Science Center and Reeves Library. The Stinson Creek Trail behind the Historic Gym was my favorite place to go and relax when I felt stressed.

Last book you read?

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Favorite movie?


Favorite app?

Messenger — it connects me with my family back home.

Favorite way to spend a Sunday?

Cooking and having friends over.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.