Staff Spotlight: From Refugee Camp to Westminster


Akinola Makanjuola, Author

Don’t you love the smooth drop-off at Westminster when you enter campus? Do you ever take a moment to notice the many security guards working to keep you safe? One of these many traffic guards is Security Officer Asha Ahmed. While driving onto campus, you might recognize Ahmed by her head scarf or hijab.

  Ahmed has been working at Westminster for 23 years, long enough to see two generations of families move through Westminster. Ahmed is a friendly face known by many throughout Westminster. 

Ahmed starts her days at 6:30 and ends them at 4:00. During this time, she directs traffic, secures the building, helps students and staff, and monitors the front and back gates. Throughout her career, Ahmed has also stayed busy as a mother. Ahmed has 3 kids; Ahmed’s twins are 36, and her youngest is 33. Her twins study in Kenya, and her youngest is a Westminster alumnus. 

Ahmed is originally from Somalia, and she loved it there. “I had a great life when I was in Somalia,” says Ahmed. But she knew better opportunities awaited her in America. Ahmed had been staying at a refugee camp where every day was a struggle. “Living in a refugee camp was really tough, but we managed,”  said Ahmed. “People would burn down our tents.” On top of these struggles, Ahmed also had three kids to take care of. Running out of hope, she called her brother. She called him four times, but the first three times he hung up because he had been told his sister was dead. On the fourth time, Ahmed told her brother to ask her a question only she would know, and when her brother confirmed who she was, he brought Ahmed and her kids to the United States. When she arrived, a relative helped her get a job as a security guard at Westminster. 

Being a Security Officer may seem easy, but Ahmed and many others have to give up a lot of their time to keep us safe. Regardless Ahmed loves her job. “It’s really tough to be a mother of three boys and, on top of that, being a security guard, but I really enjoy what I do,” she says. “Working at Westminster for 23 years has been priceless, and I really love my job,” Ahmed says the big takeaway is respect. “Respect, the most important thing is Respect.”