Abdullahi Abdullahi, a graduate of the University of Memphis, received the Medal of Inspiration Award from Beta Alpha Psi, an honors organization for financial information students and professionals.
The award, sponsored by the AICPA, is given to a student who has experienced extreme hardships in his or her life and who has demonstrated an unusually high level of success despite that adversity. The award includes a $5,000 cash stipend.
During the Somali civil war, Abdullahi's family fled to neighboring Kenya, settling in the United Nations' Dadaab refugee camp, where Abdullahi remained until his college years. Despite the significant challenges and hardships he endured at the camp, Abdullahi gave back to his community by coordinating youth engagement activities, speaking against female genital mutilation, and volunteering with HIV/AIDS awareness programs.
He eventually relocated to the United States as part of a resettlement program and became an advocate for his fellow immigrants. He enrolled in the University of Memphis, where he majored in accounting and worked with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to provide free income tax preparation to low-income, elderly, disabled, and limited-English-speaking people. Through his Beta Alpha Psi chapter, he also tutored and performed other volunteer work while supporting his family.
"Working with the people in my community—regardless of where that community is located—is very important to me," Abdullahi said. "Making a positive impact on the lives of those around me brings me a sense of belonging."