Hameeda Uloomi

Student Spotlight: Hameeda Uloomi

June 16, 2023 Torrance, CA

Big results start with small steps. That’s something Hameeda Uloomi learned fairly quickly when she enrolled at El Camino College after graduating from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in 2021. In just two short years, Uloomi became a straight-A political science major, an award-winning debater, an active student government rep, founder/leader of a nonprofit, and now, a 2023 El Camino graduate.

Her next move? Uloomi will transfer to Yale University in the fall.

Small steps lead to big accomplishments – and no one is more surprised than her.

“Never in a million years did I think I would be admitted to Yale,” she said. “This is my dream school; this is my American dream. El Camino prepared me for the work, so that part is fine, but it will be hard to leave my family and friends."

As a refugee who came to the U.S. from Afghanistan six years ago, Uloomi didn’t fully understand the education system or even what was available to her after high school. A representative from El Camino visited her campus and she figured ECC would be a good way to start.

“High school was hard for me and with COVID it was even harder, but El Camino turned out to be a great place to find out where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do,” she added. “I needed to learn how to navigate college, figure out the FAFSA, and find a place to belong. I did that, and El Camino made it all so easy. El Camino people are so dedicated, especially the students. People care so much and want to make a difference in the world in so many ways.”

Uloomi has definitely made an impact on El Camino, where she served the Associated Students Organization as director of academic affairs and as the Policy and Advocacy Committee chair, among other positions. She is also a member of the Political Science Club and the Inter-Club Council.

“I found my community in student government and also on the speech and debate team; both shaped who I am, and I am bringing all the leadership and communication skills I learned with me to Yale,” she said. “These are the things that will stick with me for a very long time.”

Uloomi also had time to establish AFG AID, her nonprofit organization that supports Afghan refugees by engaging communities and raising funds. Through AFG AID, she organizes supply drives, tutoring/transition sessions to help people integrate into the community, and protest campaigns advocating for the rights and protection of refugees and asylum seekers. Expansion plans are in place to help even more people.

“I still always dream of Afghanistan, and I felt like I had to do something for all those who can’t,” she said. “It started with an Instagram page that began raising awareness and money to help others. I found that it is easier to do something about injustice here in the U.S. I am able to reach so many people and touch hearts. It also helps me with my own survival skills. Growing up in a war-torn country, I think this is my calling – to help people. Helping other people helps me as well. We accomplish a lot, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming because I am doing something I love.”

Uloomi also found support at El Camino for her nonprofit group. She said it seemed like everything was possible.

“El Camino helps you take up small initiatives that can grow even bigger,” she said. “One thing I did was coordinate a successful supply drive on campus for Afghanistan. It is up to you to take the initiative and then El Camino can help you along the way. El Camino is where I found my community; I made lifelong connections. Everyone is so welcoming and so kind. I keep telling my friends, I wish El Camino was a four-year institution so I could stay.”