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Finding Her Way: Amna Pervez Malik, BA ’17

Amna Pervez Malik, BA ‘17In the late 1980s, Amna Malik’s father moved his family to the United States from Pakistan to ensure a better future for his five children.

The family initially settled in the Trenton, N.J. area, later building a long-term foundation in nearby Hamilton. Throughout this time, Malik faced many racial challenges because of her ethnicity, which was fueled even more by the events of Sept. 11, 2001. These judgments, however, did not break her resolve, and she was motivated to advance her education despite these setbacks.  

Years later, in 2002, Malik made good on her promise and graduated from Mercer County Technical School, having earned a number of accolades along the way. There she focused on commercial art technology and received numerous academic awards, including those from the Rotary Club of Hamilton Township and monetary scholarships to aid in furthering her education. Her design talents were also recognized by outside organizations.

Pursuing education was a huge step in Malik’s life due to her background, she explained. “In the Pakistani culture, girls only receive a formal education until they’re married and after that point they focus on their new family,” she said.

Malik enrolled at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in West Windsor, N.J. in August of 2002 and had only one semester remaining toward finishing her associate’s degree before she was to be married in 2005.

“With this, I fought to prove myself – to my family, my peers and my culture – the value of education,” she said.

And Malik did just that. In 2005, she earned her associate in applied science degree in visual design with a concentration in advertising design from MCCC before her wedding that December.

Since her marriage in late-2005, the hunger of further advancement of her education wavered in Malik’s mind. Now a mother of three, she returned to school once again, this time to earn her bachelor’s degree.

“After researching my options in the central New Jersey area, I found Thomas Edison State University to be a perfect fit,” she explained. Nearly one year after enrolling, Malik completed her degree and became the first female college graduate in her family, graduating with honors in September 2017 with a bachelor of arts in liberal studies degree.

In her spare time, Malik finds joy in working with people by volunteering and honing her passion for art. She is considering pursuing her graduate degree in art therapy. She is also a proud member of the Thomas Edison State University Alumni Ambassador program.