student: Alia Woods '14
Alia Woods ’14 loves college, but doesn’t spend many weekends on campus. She goes home to help her family.
Fort Wayne is where her brother, Anwar, is in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy and where Alia pitches in with laundry and other housed chores. “I go home to give my mom a little break,” she says.
The MU political science major is close to her brother – and loyal. When they were younger, Alia transferred to Anwar’s school so that she could be near him and help with his special needs class. The experience taught her deep empathy for people with disabilities. At Manchester, she is preparing for a career in law so that one day she can advocate for those who can’t stand up for themselves.
“Manchester is helping me realize that I have the ability to learn things I never dreamed would be possible,” says Alia. She loves the small class sizes and personal attention from professors. Financial aid is critical. When Alia’s father changed to an earlier work shift, her mother had to quit her job so that someone would be home to get Anwar clothed, fed and ready for school. “Thanks to scholarships,” Alia says, “I am able to go to a college that I want to go to.”
Despite strong ties to home and family, Alia longs to see the world. And law school is definitely on her itinerary. “I hope to become a great lawyer,” she says, “so that I can help disabled people like my brother.”
By MELINDA LANTZ '81