Florence Auma Aliardo will graduate with her bachelor’s degree in social work. She thought her dream to pursue higher education was shattered when she had to flee from South Sudan as a 17-year-old refugee from the civil war there. She arrived in Maine, attended Portland High School, and began to pursue her dream of going to college. In spite of knowing several other languages, she struggled to learn English and adapt to the culture, “I just kept pushing, kept reading every day, and learning the language and I didn’t give up.” Ultimately attending college as a non-traditional student, the mother of three thanked the faculty at USM for helping her accomplish her goal of a college degree. She would like to pursue a graduate degree at USM, and her ultimate dream is to work for the United Nations to give back to the greater community, saying that is why she chose social work - to help those in need.
USM Public Affairs/ Photo and video by Alan Bennett/ Interview by Daniel Hartill