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College graduate perseveres to become first in family to leave home country, graduate with master’s degree

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – A college graduate persevered several obstacles to become the first in his family to leave his home country and graduate with a master’s degree.

Shahab Shah walked across the stage at Purdue Fort Wayne’s first spring graduation under the new branding. The graduation took place at the Memorial Coliseum. However, his journey that led him to this moment had several obstacles.

Shah was born and raised in Pakistan. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering at home, but always knew he wanted more. Shah said his goal was to attend graduate school.

“I wasn’t sure if I would even be given an opportunity here in the states or not. There have been thousands of students applying,” said Shahab Shah, a Purdue Fort Wayne graduate. “None of them get admission. Most of them don’t get admission.”

Shah said he didn’t let the uncertainty stop him. He applied to several system engineer graduate schools across the United States and later one day, Shah heard back from his top school, Purdue Fort Wayne.

“I was super amazed,” Shah said. “I was jumping around just like people can see me just like at my graduation.”

Some of Shah’s family members took their first flight out of Pakistan to watch Shah walk across the stage on Wednesday.

“All of those long, sleepless nights of studying,” said Abdurahman Ansar, a cousin. “The papers, the exams. It was worth it. It was all worth it.”

For the past two years, Shah has been studying and writing, pulling several all-nighters.

“That was difficult,” Shah said. “But I could see I’m going to work for it and achieve it.”

Shah was focused on his goal of graduating to show his parents his gratitude for believing in him.

“They have been believing in me and giving me so much all their life,” Shah said. “This was a time for me to pay them off something you know. I could see the shine in their eyes. I can see my dad and my mom kind of had tears in their eyes because of their joy.”

Louie Tran

Louie Tran is the weekend anchor for Fort Wayne’s NBC at 6 and 11pm and a weekday general assignment reporter. To share story ideas, please email him at

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