Biomedical sciences graduate continues family legacy at WMU

Contact: Erin Flynn

Read a special message from President Edward Montgomery for Western Michigan University's 2020 graduates.

A woman who is a biomedial sciences graduate stands outside on campus.

Alaa Sleymann


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Alaa Sleymann has dreamed of becoming a Western Michigan University alumna since she was a little girl. Originally from Lebanon, she watched her father, Alee Sleymann, excel in his field after moving to Kalamazoo in 1999. After obtaining his MBA from WMU in 2001, the civil engineer pursued a doctoral degree in public administration and in 2006 became the first Bronco to defend his dissertation via teleconference—connecting to Walwood Hall from Bahrain, where he was helping set up a business.

“I’m grateful to be a Bronco because I am continuing our family legacy,” says Sleymann—a tradition she hopes will continue for generations to come.


Sleymann graduates this semester with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences. She plans to apply to dental school. The journey to that goal, however, will likely look a little different because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as medical offices scale back services deemed nonessential.

“I was looking forward to graduating and starting a new chapter in my life,” she says. “It is somewhat worrying not being able to see an end to this pandemic and resuming a somewhat normal life.”

Still, Sleymann feels prepared to handle the professional curveball life has thrown, confident in the base skills she’s developed through her major.

“These past four years of studying different diseases and anatomy, as well as physiology, have helped me with critical thinking and problem-solving,” says Sleymann. “I was taught to learn how things are tied together and where these issues are taking place in the human body. As a prospective health care professional, I will be using all of these skills in the workforce—they are crucial for success.”

Having shadowed various health care professionals for hundreds of hours during her time at WMU, Sleymann says she knows her passion for helping others, combined with the practical knowledge she’s developed, will make her a qualified applicant in a number of medical settings. 


While she’s excited about what the future holds, Sleymann says her path to graduation hasn’t always been easy. But, she made it to the finish line thanks to the guidance of her professors.

“I found my passion at WMU because of many dedicated professors,” says Sleymann, who admits she struggled with doubt early on as classes became more challenging. “As I found trusted professors to turn to during difficult times, I realized this field was more than right for me, and I was excited to begin my journey as a healthcare professional.”

Professors, says Sleymann, allowed her to envision what a future career could look like.

“They made me realize that I loved this field because of their passion for their careers. I am so grateful for the help my professors provided me with along this journey.”

In addition to faculty, Sleymann says she owes her success to the entire WMU community.

“I am very thankful for every moment and for all the help I have received from professors, advisors, friends and family,” says Sleymann. “You made my journey that much greater, and for that, I say thank you. I am very excited to start the next chapter of my life.” 

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