Berkeley Today Stories

Huda Shalabi and Berkeley College President Michael Smith

Berkeley student wants to change the world…and make it safer.

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Huda Shalabi is well on her way to a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at Berkeley College. She not only wants to serve her home community of Paterson, NJ—she wants to become the first hijab-wearing Muslim woman to join the Paterson Police Department.

Cultural diversity is one of the things she likes best about her home city. It’s also part of what drew her to Berkeley College. Huda was recently profiled in the “I Am an American” series in USA Today, a weekly series that introduces readers to exceptional Americans who are making a difference to unite, rather than divide, our communities.

Huda spoke about achieving her dream, “It would mean the world to me. I could be a role model to other Arab females in my community.” She’s always had a passion to help people and wants to give back to the where she grew up and went to school. She currently volunteers as a youth mentor.

As part of her Associate’s degree program at Berkeley, Huda participated in an internship with the Paterson Police Department last summer. Next spring, she’ll take part in an internship with the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department as part of her Bachelor’s degree program. She also recently graduated from the Bergen County Prosecutors Office program along with her fiancé Nasser Saleh, another Berkeley College student and U.S. Army National Guard veteran.

But the 20-year-old solved her first crime a decade ago when she led police to her family’s stolen marble cutting machine by following a trail of residue to the home of the thieves. A detective was so impressed that he suggested that Huda might have a potential career field.

“I hope to make a positive difference in my community and show what it means to be a Muslim-American through my accomplishments,” says Huda. “I want my success to show that America is the land of opportunity, where people of all backgrounds can strive to achieve their goals while still respecting their heritage.”

To see Huda’s profile in USA Today, click here.

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