When Nassima El Kasmi was researching colleges, Concordia College, Moorhead stood out. “The international admissions officers were welcoming,” she says. “I knew I was going to be a part of a community.”

She also was impressed with the options she had for learning outside the classroom. “I was looking for opportunities to improve my skills as a person and professionally,” she says. “Concordia helped me reach those goals. I came to college with a list, and I would say that I’ve pretty much checked off everything that was on it.”

El Kasmi started school as a nursing major, but after volunteering at a hospital, she discovered she was more interested in the administrative side of things than frontline health care. “In high school I had no interest in business,” she says. “My father told me, ‘Sometimes the things you don’t want will come to you, and they’re the best option.’ And it actually happened.” When she returned to school in the fall, she switched majors to Healthcare Management.

On top of her classes, she’s balanced internships and on-campus work – including as a finance intern at Sanford Health and a director assistant of a residence hall. All of this is to prepare her for work and graduate school. “At this time, I think I need to be in a workplace for a year or two and then figure out what I really want to do for my master’s, but grad school is definitely something I’m looking forward to,” she says.

For El Kasmi, the value of her scholarship goes beyond the money it has provided for her education. She credits her Phillips Scholars project – a business mentorship for female minority students in high school – for helping her grow. “Not only did the students leave the program feeling good about themselves, but I did as well.”