You could say Muhammad Bangash is going into the family business by studying computer science – his father is a software engineer and his mother is a civil engineer. This Truman College student and Truman Middle College alumnus will graduate with his associate degree in Computer Science this Spring, before he heads to Northeastern Illinois University in the fall to continue on his path to become a software engineer. And not only did Muhammad earn his associate degree for free thanks to the Star Scholarship, his impressive academic record and on-campus involvement has helped him earn two of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society’s top academic scholarships.

This spring, Muhammad was one of only 20 students across the country to be chosen for the All-USA Academic Team, which recognizes outstanding academic achievement, leadership, and community and campus engagement. He was also named a 2020 New Century Transfer Scholar, whose recipients are selected based on academic accomplishments, leadership activities, and how well they extend their intellectual talents outside of the classroom.

His achievements are all the more impressive when you consider that he spent five years, from the age of 10 until he was 15 years old, attending a strictly religious school where he paused his academic education to focus on becoming a Hafiz – a Muslim who knows the Quran by heart. Over those five years, Muhammad dedicated 10 hours a day, seven day a week to studying and memorizing the Quran – it total, he spent approximately 18,250 hours doing so.

Muhammad was then homeschooled for the next few years until he found Truman Middle College, which allowed him to jump back into formal schooling. He felt so comfortable there, that he decided to stay to earn his associate degree. While at Truman College, he was an active member of the Student Government Association and the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and brought back the Muslim Student Association to campus. He also took advantage of resources like the Writing Center, Career Center, and Transfer Center.

“At Truman, I learned how success is not just based in academics, but also in sharing and connecting with other people,” he explained.

He also found inspiration in his professors, including PTK advisor Dr. Kelly O’Malley and English professor, Dr. Carlo Matos. By working with them, he was not only able to improve his academic, leadership and writing skills, but to figure out what he ultimately wanted to do – earn a doctoral degree and become a professor at a community college where he would be able to have same impact on students that his professors had on him.

Ready to learn how you could go to college tuition-free? Learn more about the Star Scholarship here.

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