Salima Dhanani

Degree: Master of Science in Early Childhood Education

College/School: School of Education and Human Development, College of Arts, Sciences & Education

As a first-generation college student and a teacher, Salima Dhanani knows the power of education. She also knows getting a good education can be tough. She’s making sure it doesn’t have to be.

At New Life Charter Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Salima teaches math to 33 children in second and third grades. Most of them lack the basic knowledge for their grade level. She makes math problems relatable to her students and coaches them one-on-one. She builds a good rapport with their parents. She works with their other teachers to keep her students motivated. Together, they’re making a difference. The school’s grade improved from an F to a B.

Salima is also trying to improve education for children a world away in her native Pakistan. She’s been doing this during her summer breaks for the past four years. It started as an effort to improve the curriculum at the Marium Government Girls and Boys Primary School in Karachi. It morphed into a fundraising push to improve the school’s state of disrepair, where out-of-service restrooms meant students would go home for restroom breaks and not return until the next day. Her efforts there continue.

After commencement, Salima wants to put the strategies and knowledge gained from earning her master’s degree to use. She hopes to become a school administrator and pursue a doctoral degree in early childhood education.

By Chrystian Tejedor
Account Manager, College of Arts, Sciences & Education