Barry McNamara  |   Published January 13, 2016

Woman’s Day

National magazine details Shaker’s journey to Monmouth, bond with music professor Suda
The inspiring story of Monmouth College alumna Mariela Shaker, who graduated last May, has been celebrated in several venues, including the White House. Woman’s Day magazine is the latest to feature the Syrian native and accomplished violinist, profiling Shaker and Monmouth faculty member Carolyn Suda in its February 2016 issue.

The four-page article recounts the story of Shaker leaving her home in war-torn Aleppo, Syria, to study at Monmouth. Despite the brutalities of the war in Syria and random bombings of Shaker’s home – “windows shattered, door blown in” – she says in Woman’s Day that it was not an easy decision for her to leave her native country.

“I don’t know if I should take this risk,” Shaker said to her mother, Salwa, before boarding her flight to the United States.

A music instructor at Monmouth and director of the chamber orchestra, Suda met Shaker shortly upon her arrival. She became much more than Shaker’s professor, a point driven home in a touching part of the article that describes a phone conversation Suda had with Salwa, and the home away from home that she and Monmouth College had provided.

Last June, Shaker performed to a standing-room-only audience at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., where she was invited to appear by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees. She was honored five days later as a “Champion of Change” at a White House reception. Today, Shaker is working toward her master’s degree in music performance at DePaul University.

A full version of the Woman’s Day article is available at http://issuu.com/monmouth/docs/shaker-suda
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