Main Content

With curiosity and determination, Amina Malagic is set for success

Written by
Emily Stetson

June 3, 2021


Amina Malagic photo

When it came to college and career paths, Spaulding High School senior Amina Malagic had two strong role models growing up: her older sisters. Both were high achievers who graduated from UVM and went on to graduate school; one has her MBA, and the other is pursuing her DPM.

“I grew up seeing my sisters succeed,” says Amina. “I looked up to them, and I guess I’m sort of following in their footsteps,” she says, referring to her decision to attend UVM and her interest in going into healthcare.

But listening to Amina talk animatedly about her interests and talents, it doesn’t feel quite right to say that she has “followed” anyone or anything other than her own curiosity and her subsequent discoveries of the many things that she is good at.

Amina recalls that a women-in-STEM program at VTC ignited her interest in science early on in high school. As she continued with her regular courses, she learned that while she could succeed in all subjects (she will graduate with a 3.99 GPA), she was definitely more of a math-and-science person. Her AP Chemistry course during her junior year was one of her early favorites. But perhaps even more challenging and enjoyable than the half-dozen AP courses Amina took in high school, were the two college classes, World Literature and Medical Terminology, that she took through the dual-enrollment program.

A standout for indoor track, Amina says she decided to give the sport a try her first year at Spaulding and fell in love with shotput, javelin, and discus, eventually placing 12th in the state. And on a whim, she signed up for Interact, the high school version of Rotary Club, to gain more community service hours, during which she realized that she really enjoyed serving breakfast to neighbors in need. “I can definitely see myself joining a professional Rotary Club in the future once I start working and settle down,” she says.

While neither of her parents went to college, both her mom and dad built successful careers, her mom in the healthcare field and her dad in production. And from day one, they expected all of their daughters to pursue higher education.

“It was definitely expected that I would go to college,” Amina recalls, although her parents didn’t have any personal experience they could draw upon to help their daughters through the process. So for all of the Malagic girls, VSAC played a key role.

“I joined VSAC’s Talent Search program as early as you could, I think in seventh grade. My older sister did Talent Search and told me to do it. It helped me narrow down exactly what I wanted, allowed me to visit several schools, and probably helped me most with the application and financial aid process,” Amina recalls.

She says her biggest challenge came when she received her financial aid offer letter. “Chelsea, my VSAC counselor, broke it all down for me and created this spreadsheet to help me understand what I was getting from scholarships, what I was getting from aid, and what I would have to pay. It was super helpful.”

While Amina applied to a half-dozen schools throughout New England to keep her options open, she says she always knew deep down that her heart belonged to UVM. Amina plans to major in biological sciences, which will lay the foundation for her future career in healthcare. When she thinks about college, she is most looking forward to taking classes that she has a strong interest in. “I get to focus on what I want to,” she says, which includes plenty of STEM-related courses, where her curiosity thrives.

“And maybe because I’ve spent the last year cooped up because of COVID, I’m also excited to make some new friendships.”

Need help with pursuing your career goals and education? VSAC is here to help you. Serving our community is at the heart of all we do. We’re committed to helping you navigate your career and education needs.

For information on college and career planning and help with financial aid, go to and check out our online workshops and events. You can also give us a call at 800-642-3177, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday or email