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Meet Mona Alnaeemi: Walden Alumna and Advocate for Refugee Women

This agent of social change earned her PhD in Human Services at Walden University.

Each year, millions of the world’s citizens leave their homes and risk their lives to escape war, persecution, famine, and other humanitarian crises. Thirty years ago, Dr. Mona Alnaeemi was one of them.

Dr. Mona Alnaeemi

“It was very difficult for me and my family. There were so many challenges—from learning the language to navigating the system to knowing that sometimes you cannot find a person to believe in you,” she said in an interview with Walden, the magazine for Walden University alumni.

Since arriving in the United States from northern Iraq three decades ago, Alnaeemi, who goes by Dr. Mona, has used her experiences, talents, and education to help ease the transition for other female Muslim refugees.

For 13 years, she worked as a caseworker for Mosaic Family Services in Dallas, helping immigrant women acquire the variety of skills they need to become self-sustaining. She continued that work as co-founder of the Dallas Institute for Immigrant Women. Language and employment, she says, are “the fundamental building blocks of independence.”

And in 2018, she graduated from Walden with a PhD in Human Services, completing the dissertation Experiences of Kurdish/Middle Eastern Refugee Women Seeking Employment.

“Refugee resettlement agencies provide services to help new refugees develop skills that will allow them to achieve self-sufficiency. Prior research has indicated that leveraging skills and talents is not an easy process for refugee women, who face barriers and difficulties in the transition to a new culture,” she writes in her dissertation summary.

As part of her research, Dr. Mona interviewed eight Kurdish refugee women who lived in the southwestern United States, used resettlement services, and were employed at the time of the study.

“Participants described their experience of being refugee women seeking employment as difficult and scary. However, participants also expressed that this experience had allowed them to become women with voices, rights, options, and opportunities,” Dr. Mona writes. “The outcomes of this study support the development of culturally relevant programs to serve and empower refugee women to receive quality employment services and bring attention to employment services for refugee women.”

Social Change and an Education for Good®

Through her life and her career of service, Dr. Mona is the embodiment of Walden’s mission of social change. “Social change is about learning from yesterday to build a better future,” she told Walden.

Her commitment to the greater good also means giving back to the community in her free time. In 2021, she was a Walden Outstanding Alumni Award nominee. “I breathe volunteering,” she said in the magazine interview. Her volunteer work includes providing multicultural and diversity training services to nonprofit organizations on topics such as domestic violence, mental health, human trafficking, and family services.

Dr. Mona’s story is a testament to the power of social change. You too can bring your talents and vision to a human services career and become an agent of social change. Enrolling in an online human services degree program can help prepare you to achieve your goals.

Walden offers a PhD in Human Services online degree program with a General Program and 10 optional specializations. Choices include Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention; Human Services Nonprofit Administration; and Military Families and Culture.

Walden’s doctorate in human services degree program is aligned with guidelines from the Council for Standards in Human Service Education, which seeks to promote excellence, provide quality assurance, and support standards of performance and practice.

This non-licensure, online PhD program can help you grow as a leader while you build teaching, research, and consulting skills. You’ll explore how to test current assumptions, develop new theories, and create a platform for new knowledge that drives the evolution of human services delivery and practice.

If a master’s degree is the next step in your higher education journey, you may want to consider Walden’s master’s in human services.

In the online MS in Human Services program, you’ll have the choice of a General Program or one of eight specializations that let you tailor your studies to your career interests. Options include Community and Social Services and Family Studies and Interventions.

The accredited university’s human services degree programs are designed so working professionals can further their education and advance their careers while continuing to work and enjoy family life.

If you’re committed to leading social change, consider enrolling in an online human services degree program that offers the skills and knowledge you need to become a valued change agent in your community.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering online PhD in Human Services and master’s in human services degree programs. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,