Qatar native Nasser Al-Attiyah found friendship, influential professors and a new passion nearly halfway around the world at St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron, Mich.
Nasser Al-Attiyah graduated in 2007 from Qatar Academy, an international I.B. school in Doha, Qatar. Connected to the Port Huron area through family members who had previously attended SC4, Al-Attiyah enrolled at the college in fall 2010.
“My cousin, a Port Huron local at the time, called SC4 an excellent starting spot for pursuing higher education,” Al-Attiyah said.
While at SC4, he joined the music club and participated in various campus activities, served as a student speaker for multiple events, and started his Tang Soo Do study at PKSA Karate Port Huron.
“Clubs and campus activities allowed me to bond with people at the college,” he said. “I met a few other students whom I am still in contact with today. Being able to break the initial barrier of meeting new people in a completely new environment at that stage was crucial to my acclimation. They were some great people too.”
According to Al-Attiyah, other great people he met included college faculty and staff members.
“Patricia and Jim Frank still remain as two of the most influential professors I’ve ever had at any level. They constantly pushed boundaries and prioritize learning and engaging discussions over grades and homework quotas,” he said. “And the administration as a whole was incredibly supportive when anything got confusing or needed straightening out. Pete Lacey, Carrie Bearss, and Angel Niederkohr, in particular, went above and beyond to make sure I was settled in and had everything in order. I am forever grateful for all they did.”
Al-Attiyah transferred from SC4 to Arizona State University in 2012 to study international agribusiness (food security issues) and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 2016.
Since graduation, he enlisted in Qatar’s Military Officer Cadet Program and currently holds the rank of Lieutenant. Following that, he joined Qatar’s government-run agricultural company Hassad Qatar where he is a member of the team that oversees operations.
Al-Attiyah also continued his training in Tang Soo Do. He earned a second degree black belt in 2018 and participated in the 16th World Tang Soo Do Championship, representing Qatar for the first time in the tournament as the sole member of the team, and winning the gold medal in heavyweight sparring on his first try.
“I have since been recognized as the highest-ranking Tang Soo Do black belt in Qatar (and the Gulf region as a whole), all thanks to the Tang Soo Do school which was initially across the street from SC4 in downtown Port Huron,” he said. “I still attend and visit twice a year to train with the same instructors that have been training me for more than nine years.”
While he aspires to further his martial arts training and open up his own school, Al-Attiyah really wants to lead the charge in advancing agriculture in his region.
“As one of the few people truly specialized in this field, it has become my responsibility to educate and inform as much as possible to help develop this sector,” Al-Attiyah said. “With my background and experiences at SC4 and ASU, I feel well equipped to have a great impact.”