San Jacinto College alumnus Saad Nadeem recently graduated from the University of Houston in four years with three majors, three minors, and a 4.0 GPA. He credits his success and drive to achieve to the support of his family and his time at San Jac.
Nadeem graduated in May 2023 with degrees in health (from the College of Education), human nutrition and food, and exercise science. His minors were biology, business administration, and management and leadership. He plans to attend a Texas medical school next to pursue his aspiration of being a doctor and providing care and support for under-served populations in Harris County. He is also eyeing an MBA to feed his passion for the business side of medicine.
“I aspire to make a meaningful impact on the community that has supported and shaped me throughout my journey,” said Nadeem. “With its rich cultural diversity and vibrant populations, Houston holds a special place in my heart.”
A transformative experience
Before his time at University of Houston, Nadeem was a dual credit student at Clear Horizons Early College High School, where he began his “transformative” experience at San Jac. He said the College provided him with a nurturing environment where he developed both academically and personally as a young adult.
“San Jacinto College became my second home during those formative years," he said. "Through scholarships, research opportunities, and more, San Jac opened doors for me that I never thought possible at such a young age.”
Nadeem said that the academic excellence and dedication to student success at San Jac created a strong work ethic, practical time management skills, and an ability to adapt to the rigors of higher education. He feels that the guidance he received at the College helped provide a seamless transition to the academic rigors at UH.
An immeasurable impact
Nadeem recognizes that one of the most valuable aspects of his education at San Jac was the connection he made with instructors and students.
“The sense of community at San Jac was palpable, creating an environment where collaboration and support were paramount,” he said.
One such instructor was Dr. Phuong Doan, a chemistry instructor at the South Campus.
“Her influence on me cannot be overstated," he said. "Without her help and guidance, I would not be as successful as I am today.”
Nadeem said his mentorship with Doan began from the very first moment he stepped foot in her class. He could feel her genuine passion for teaching and ability to connect with her students. He said he felt drawn to her warm and caring demeanor and that she provided a safe space for him to share his experiences and aspirations.
“She saw and nurtured my potential with the utmost care, treating me like her son,” he said.
She also provided guidance and support outside the classroom that helped shape Nadeem’s future.
“Whether offering advice on course selection, assisting with scholarship applications, or connecting me with influential figures in my field of interest, she was always there, selflessly dedicating her time and energy to ensure my success,” he said.
Nadeem’s family immigrated from Pakistan to the United States when he was 5. His parents left behind friends and family to give their children a better future.
“Their sacrifice and determination are a constant reminder of the value of hard work, resilience, and gratitude,” Nadeem said.
His father’s relentless work ethic — sometimes working two jobs to support their family — showed him the importance of sacrificing for others, a mantra that he plans to uphold. His mother, who showered Nadeem with unending love and support, was a constant source of encouragement and guidance.
“My journey is not mine alone — it is a testament to the countless sacrifices made by my parents and the opportunities they have provided for me and my siblings," he said. "I am forever grateful to God for blessing me with such supportive parents who have been the pillars of strength in my life.”
He also is greatly appreciative of the support his grandmother, “Nene.” She encouraged him through her belief, love, and inspiration, even during the most difficult times of his educational journey. He credits her with his decision to pursue a career in medicine.
“She recognized my innate desire to make a positive impact in the lives of others and guided me toward a path that aligned with my passion,” he said.
He also credits her with instilling in him the values of compassion, empathy, and service.
“Nene’s prayers were a constant source of comfort and guidance," he said. "She had an unshakable faith in my success and often reminded me that she prayed for me daily. Her prayers served as a potent reminder that I was never alone in my journey and that a higher power was watching over me.”
Even though his Nene has passed, Nadeem says her influence continues to drive his life.
“Her memory serves as a beacon of strength and a reminder of the immense love and support I have been fortunate to receive," he said. "I carry her values, teachings, and unwavering belief in my heart as I navigate my educational and professional journey.”