photo of Ashraf Oindry
Courtesy Ashraf Oindry

Ashraf Oindry, Computer Engineering major, has big plans after graduation. Although the rest of her family live in Bangladesh, Oindry hopes to stay in Huntsville after graduation and launch her career in software development. “I want to work for an ethical company that contributes to the wellness of software,” says Oindry. “That’s more important than a big paycheck. And I can see myself getting a Master’s in Computer Science one day.” But these plans were almost derailed when her father’s business failed during the pandemic and he could no longer assist in paying her tuition.

“When Covid hit, my father was already struggling with his business; Covid made it so he lost his main source of income. My sister and I were both attending UAH at the time. She graduated last year, but I’ve had to manage my own tuition.”

Thankfully, Oindry says, she was able to cover some of the costs with the money she earns with her internship at SIEMENS, but her income doesn’t pay for both tuition and living expenses and she wasn’t sure she’d be able to complete her degree.

“I didn’t want to drop out,” Oindry says, “But then someone told me about the Last-Mile Fund so I applied. When I found out I got it, I cried because I was so happy.”

With help from the Last-Mile Fund (LMF), Oindry can now focus on her classes, her internship, and her upcoming co-op with SIEMENS next spring and summer without wondering where her next meal will come from. Oindry acknowledges the significant impact of gifts to funds like the LMF: “Not everyone is kind enough to donate for people like me, people they’ve never even met. That kindness has helped me in the most critical point of my life.”

Oindry says support from the LMF also makes it so she has the time to continue her participation in many college organizations. “Last year I was the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the SGA, I was elected Vice President of the Diversity and Inclusion Student Alliance (DISA) as a part of UAH’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI), I was the fundraiser for the Society of Women Engineers, and I’m a member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society.” Holding these roles, Oindry stresses, continues her intention to help people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and genders in their efforts to grow personally and professionally.

Oindry plans to continue her service to help others after she graduates next December. “When I am in a financially stable condition, I hope to do my part for others like me,” Oindry says, “and UAH will always hold a special place in my heart.” She doesn’t just want to give to college students in need; she has plans to help people from her country. “When I go home to Bangladesh, I see poor kids with no food, no families, and no help. I want to do something to help these kids.”

Oindry is quick to show her gratitude for receiving the LMF and for those who give to support the fund. “Financial help is one of the biggest ways someone can help you in times of need. I’m so grateful to everyone who has donated to the fund to help students like me when I’m so close to graduation.”

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Jenn Memolo