Big Rapids Student, Ferris Professor Prepare For Academic Year at Orientation

Said Abdulameer
PHOTO CAPTIONS: (Above) Incoming freshman Saif Abdulameer (center) attends a Ferris State University orientation session with his parents, Ghada (left) and Ali (right) on Monday, June 10 in the University Center. The Big Rapids native is a Pre-Med student in the College of Arts and Sciences. (Below) Incoming freshman Daniel Hardesty (left) joins his father, Welding Engineering Technology Professor Jeff Hardesty at Ferris State University’s opening orientation. Daniel plans to study Industrial Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences.


Around 200 students who have been accepted as freshmen or transfer students at Ferris State University, made their way to campus, and the University Center on Monday, June 10, for the first of 14 orientation sessions being offered before the 2019-20 academic year.

A few of the necessary steps for orientation participants were not required of Saif Abdulameer, of Big Rapids, who earned six credits at Ferris as a dual-enrolled high school student. Abdulameer will take up Pre-Med studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, and is part of the university’s Honors College program.

“I considered other colleges, but it was clear that Ferris was the best decision for me,” Abdulameer said. “I made sure my six credits are on my record and plan to schedule classes in math, science and some requirements for the Honors program.”

Abdulameer said, as a locally-based student, he is looking forward to a greater campus experience as he pursues his degree.

“Academics are always my first priority, but I understand that an active social life is also an important part of my experience,” Abdulameer said. “I plan to be active on campus, building bonds and connections with other students.”

Abdulameer was a multi-sport athlete in high school and is familiar with the Ferris campus. His mother, Ghada Mahdi, is an instructor in the West Michigan English Language Institute, part of the university’s Office of International Education.

“It is wonderful that Saif chose Ferris from the schools he had considered, because I find the university to be friendly and welcoming, with plenty of great opportunities,” Mahdi said. “My son is focused on his studies, but also active, socially, so this will be a good place for him to become involved in registered student organizations and other activities on campus.”

Stops in the University Center and the Swan Technical Arts Building were on the day’s Daniel Hardestyagenda for Welding Engineering Technology Professor Jeff Hardesty. He attended orientation with his son, Daniel, who will begin studies in Industrial Chemistry, this fall, at Ferris.

“I believe professors should be available and engaged during orientation because we should not presume every student making this visit will follow through and attend the university,” Hardesty said. “We want this to be a positive experience, and most importantly, work to get students enrolled in classes they will need to start well with the university, in their program.”

Hardesty added these new students come to Ferris from diverse backgrounds, so he is ready to offer advice and assistance as needed during their visits.

“Some students may be a bit overwhelmed by a new experience,” Hardesty said. “This is our first chance to show them there is a plan to follow, so we try to get them enthused and off to the best possible start in our program.”

Orientation sessions continue on Tuesday, June 11 and Thursday, June 13, with further offerings each day Monday, June 17 through Thursday, June 20 and three-session schedules return the weeks of July 8 and 15. A final orientation is set for on Thursday, Aug. 22 with Fall 2019 classes beginning on Monday, Aug. 26.