Smiles Are Important To This Pre-Dental Student

Ahmad Haha loves how UMKC makes it easy for people to express themselves - including their faith
Ahmad Haha stands along the windows at UMKC Student Union

Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. 

Ahmad Haha
Hometown: Palestine
High School: Ruskin High School
UMKC degree program: BS Biology, Pre-Dental
Anticipated graduation year: 2020

Why did you choose UMKC?

I chose UMKC because it helps a person find his passion in life by giving a student experience with what they want to do.

  Ahmad Haha at UMKC Student Union

Why did you choose pre-dentistry? 

Smiles are so important. They are a sign of inner happiness. As a little kid I hid my smile because my teeth were horrible. Then I started going to the dentist almost every week for eight years. I had braces for six years. I saw the difference in how my life has changed. I've felt happier than ever. I want to give that back. I want to make others happy. 

Are there people in your family with science and medical backgrounds?

One of my brothers started in medicine, but switched to business. But for me, I want to help people.  I've wanted to be a dentist since I was a little kid.  I want to be the first person in my family to take the step into the health field. 
It benefits me to challenge myself and see what I'm capable of.  I knew it wasn't going to be easy, and entering this programs has benefitted my life outside of academics to reach for a higher goal.

Ahmad Haha carrying prayer rugs

If you were advising a potential UMKC student, what would you tell them?

No matter what - who they are or their background – there's no judgment here. UMKC accepts you for you are. They don't want to change you. There's a very diverse environment here where everyone can find a friend – or faculty or professor – who they can reach out to. 

Was that unexpected?

I moved to the United States when I was seven years old. I’m Muslim and live in a strong Muslim community. Some of the families I know sent their kids to Muslim school.  I went for a year, but I wanted to go to public school and still know my beliefs. I wanted to put myself in an environment with other religions to prove it wouldn't affect who I am.

I've found that UMKC is a very safe place for Muslims. I'm on the board of the student Muslim organization. We have events and a feast for Ramadan. Everyone is invited. This year we had over 200 students from the whole community. The university has really supported us. We have Friday prayers, but we can't always make it to mosque. UMKC has given us a room in the Student Union. The Muslim community on campus wants to show people who we are. We have a strong heart.

Ahmad Haha leading prayer

What other organizations are you involved in on campus?

I am an orientation leader and a member of the Pre-Dental Society.

Why are you an orientation leader?

I wanted to help students who walked in my shoes. High school doesn't really prepare you for college. I had to develop my own study strategies. Now I'm a junior. I can see the impact the first year had on me. I want to help first year students believe in themselves. I want them to have confidence and know they will be okay. Being an orientation leader gives me a chance to speak out and let them know they can make it.

Ahmad Haha prayign at the UMKC Student Union

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself? 

I learned that I don't need to be perfect.  In life we make mistakes and failure is not wrong.  It's just a way to learn better and avoid making the same mistakes in the future. 


Ahmad Haha at UMKC Student Union

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