JJC Alumni Spotlight: Arif Abufarha Plans to Master Two Skills, Thanks to JJC

By the time Joliet Junior College graduate Arif Abufarha completes his education, he will feel like two different people.

Arif Abufarha

Abufarha, who graduated from JJC in 2013 with a general studies degree, taking many classes in Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD), is now a DePaul University student – with a completely different major: marketing.

Having two degrees will ultimately give him more opportunities, he explained.

“If one way doesn’t work out you can go for the other way and find more jobs,” he said. “And it looks better if you can handle two skills.”

Abufarha, an alumnus of Plainfield South High School, chose JJC not only because his mother, Maha Abufarha, works there as a CADD adjunct professor, but also because it was close to home and affordable.

Although his mother has been teaching CADD at JJC for three years, he didn’t originally plan to get involved with the program. He began his college career ready to try anything. When his mother suggested CADD, he took one class and that’s when everything clicked.

“I took a chance, and I loved it,” he said.

He eventually became a CADD tutor, and with the encouragement of CADD Program Coordinator Scott Boudreau, he applied for a position with Doka USA.

He landed the job and worked at the formwork engineering and products company part-time as he finished up his last year at JJC.

It was at Doka USA that his interest in marketing really surfaced. Throughout the years, people always told him he would do well working in sales, but once he started hanging around the salespeople at Doka USA, his interest in marketing became clear. After seeing DePaul’s marketing program, he knew what his next step would be.

Though he enjoys attending DePaul, Abufarha is thankful for his time at JJC. If it had not been for the college, he would not have gained the direction he needed to attend DePaul.

“Everything I’ve learned at JJC has obviously helped me,” he said. “Learning everything, maturing through it, seeing people and everything that you do – it kind of crafts you into the person you are.”

The JJC grad will always look back and think about how fortunate he was to have met so many influential professors at the college. He said as long as students have the desire to learn and pay attention, along with a little bit of creativity, they would do well in the CADD program.

He also encourages students to take classes out of their comfort zone. If Abufarha had not done that, he wouldn’t have realized his love for CADD.

“Take the chance to explore new classes,” he said. “As long as they give things a chance, they could open a whole new door to a different world. It’s pretty cool.”

Abufarha said his dream job would be working in marketing for the Chicago Bears. He would also enjoy working at a Fortune 500 company or getting another job in the CADD industry.

For more information about the CADD program at JJC, visit www.jjc.edu/info/cadd.

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