While working as an environmental management engineer at Harvard University in 2005, Mohamed Omar decided to “test the waters” by enrolling in Work Environment’s environmental risk assessment certificate program. After a positive experience, he decided to pursue his doctorate degree in cleaner production and pollution prevention from UMass Lowell while working full time and raising a young family.
“Mohamed had to do his doctoral work at nights and on weekends for years,” says Prof. Margaret Quinn. “He was a pleasure to work with, always hard working, focused, with a positive approach to his work and his life. He overcame enormous language and cultural differences to do an excellent dissertation in the U.S.”
He’s come a long way from his native land of Mogadishu, Somalia. He arrived in Portland, Maine in 2000 to “chase the American Dream.” He did what he could to gain experience in his field. He volunteered at waste-water treatment plants for eight months, putting his degrees in civil and environmental engineering to good use.
He got his big break when he was offered an entry-level position as an environmental engineer with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection in 2001.
After three years, his job was cut due to budget issues. However, he developed a huge professional network that eventually led him to his current position at Harvard.
He considers his education at UMass Lowell the inspiration for bringing him closer to the City of Lowell where he lives with his family. He appreciates the diversity of the people and is involved in ‘greening’ the city in his appointed role as a commissioner for the Green Building Commission.
“My education at UMass Lowell has been an amazing experience. I consider Prof. Quinn who was my adviser, a friend and supporter of my work,” says Omar.