Motivated by family and the dream of a better life, Ali Alrubaiee became an American and earned his nursing degree
Helping others was always a focus for Ali Alrubaiee. An interpreter for the U.S. military during Saddam Hussein’s regime, the Iraqi native worked to aid American soldiers in the Iraq War. It was during that time that his mother was diagnosed with an aggressive uterine cancer that spread into her lungs. She passed away in 2005.
Watching his mother’s health deteriorate while caring for her through that difficult time was a clarifying experience for Alrubaiee. When the U.S. Congress passed legislation that would enable Iraqi citizens who helped the military to live and work in the United States, he was one of the first 50 to make the move.
“Living under Saddam Hussein’s regime was rough,” Alrubaiee says. “When I came to the States, I learned there are a lot of opportunities and ways to be successful. I don’t ever want my family or my kids to suffer the way we did before.”
This motivation to provide a better future for himself and his family led him to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The University of Texas at Arlington. And after completing clinical rotations in various local hospitals, he began work as a student nurse technician at the Dallas VA Medical Center, where he currently works as a graduate student nurse. When Alrubaiee graduated in December 2015, U.S. officers he worked with in Iraq were there to help him celebrate.
“I owe my life to him,” says Lt. Col. Lisa Montoya. “Ali was responsible for keeping us safe. The safety of our whole team was in his hands.”
Eventually, Alrubaiee would like to pursue an advanced practice or MSN degree at UTA. Long-term professional goals include working in an ICU or emergency department. For now, he’s content right where he is: learning, working, supporting his family, and—as always—helping others.