After putting her three children though school in Queens, she decided it was time to further her own education and enrolled in school for the first time at Metropolitan Learning Institute (MLI) in Rego Park to strengthen her computer skills and become more marketable to employers.
During the 15-month program, Elshatanofy studied medical billing, criminology, business collaboration and took several courses in accounting.
“Because we are from a different country, nobody really helped us. It was just me and my husband,” she said. “This is supposed to be the future for our kids, so that is why I focused on them first.”
At a graduation ceremony last Wednesday at the Jewish Center at 97-30 Queens Blvd., Elshatanofy joined nearly 50 of her fellow graduates in receiving her diploma.
“I started the program and I love it,” she said. “I enjoyed everything about it. I went to high school and then I came here to further my education even more.”
In the final weeks of the program, Elshatanofy and her peers at MLI went to a job fair where she landed a position with Aflac.
Shakila Hamidi, a representative of MLI, said the program is an ideal opportunity for adults with a tight schedule who wants to master the English language and get a job in a highly competitive city.
“We have morning and evening programs for low income and people who are not working,” Hamidi said of the program. “We have English and computer courses, especially for adults that are coming from a different country.”
A majority of the graduating students from the Rego Park campus are from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Spain, China and Russia, according to Hamidi. And like Elshatanofy, many of them are also women and stay-at-home moms.
“A majority of these students are women and I’m so glad for them,” she said.
Keynote speaker Dr. Ghassan Elcheikhali, a professor at the Razi School at 55-11 Queens Blvd. in Woodside, congratulated the students on their hard work and completing the program.
“It provides the opportunity for the families and the individuals that they think they have the power and the will to change their lives,” Elcheikhali said.
Before the students received their diplomas and moved on to the next phase of their lives, Elcheikhali reminded them of the significance of furthering their education.
“This is part of the long process that will continue throughout our lives,” he said.