Aisha Hashim, who came to Western Massachusetts from Nigeria in 2017, is studying phlebotomy at Springfield Technical Community College.

What does she like about it?

“Everything!” she said. “It’s fun. I like mingling with people, helping people by taking their blood samples. The way you interact with them is nice.”

Hashim is hoping to earn a certificate in in the program this December. The certificate will prepare her to work in a hospital, clinical laboratory or healthcare facility and obtain blood specimens.

Hashim, 32, hopes to continue her education and one day work as a nurse.

STCC offers two Phlebotomy programs: One is called Phlebotomy Technician. The second is Phlebotomy for Healthcare Workers, which is for people working in healthcare roles.

Both programs are now accepting applications for classes that start in January.

Hashim said she finds the program and STCC to be a welcoming and inclusive environment.

“There isn’t any bullying. There isn’t any racism. You feel free. You go to classes. They treat us all the same,” she said.

Her husband, Halilu Daraja, graduated from STCC in 2008. He earned a degree in civil engineering and later transferred to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Daraja recommended STCC to his wife. “I always pushed her to get into her dream, which was to go into the nursing program.”

Hashim said she had been a student in the nursing program, but decided to leave after she became pregnant. She and her husband have three small children, ages 9 months to 4 years old.

Hashim wants to eventually return  for the nursing program. But for now, she’s thrilled to be close to earning a certificate in phlebotomy.

The family stopped by STCC on a recent fall day and had a chance to chat with College President John B. Cook who posed for a picture.