Pursuing the American Dream: From A Village in Egypt to Law School in Syracuse

Omnia Shedid headshot

Omnia Shedid L’24, ’24 M.P.A. (MAX) was born in a small, rural village in Egypt. As a child running through her grandparents’ corn fields, she never imagined she would one day walk the halls of the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit while supporting work that would impact the lives of many Americans.

“As a girl, my village felt like my entire universe. I never thought I would graduate college, let alone have the experiences I have had at Syracuse Law,” says Shedid, who is a dual degree candidate also completing a master’s degree in public administration (M.P.A.) at the University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Omnia posing in front of the Maxwell School

“My upbringing did more than teach me how to overcome adversity. It instilled in me a passion for helping others, particularly through the law.”

Omnia Shedid L’24, ’24 M.P.A.

When she moved to the U.S. at age 6, her family settled in Baltimore. Shedid and her siblings were raised by a single mother who worked tirelessly to make ends meet but still found time to study for her U.S. citizenship exam—demonstrating the kind of work ethic that has inspired Shedid’s discipline throughout law school.

“Growing up poor, you learn quickly how valuable helping others can be. And, growing up as an immigrant in America, you learn that disadvantaged communities are the first to be affected by harmful implications of certain laws and policies, yet they are the last to receive support in navigating the circumstances caused by those implications,” says Shedid. “My upbringing did more than teach me how to overcome adversity. It instilled in me a passion for helping others, particularly through the law.”

Omnia in front of Dineen Hall

“Syracuse Law has allowed me to explore the intersection of law and policy, and, while that has sometimes been challenging, it has been rewarding to learn how these two disciplines can work together to improve people’s lives,” she adds.

A graduate of Towson University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Shedid took a few years off before deciding on law school. When she made the decision to pursue a law degree, Syracuse Law impressed her with the opportunity to earn a joint degree in law and public administration, something few other universities offered. Shedid was also fascinated with the various legal clinics and experiential learning opportunities that the School offered.

Today, she is president of the Class of 2024, a member of the Advocacy Honor Society’s Trial and Alternative Dispute Resolution divisions and a Notes and Comments editor for the Journal of Science and Technology Law.

Last year, she worked at the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic, helping veterans access much needed resources. She also took on two prestigious summer internships. In 2022, Shedid served as one of three Judge William C. Clifton Sr. law clerks at the Office of the Attorney General of Rhode Island. The following summer, she worked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which was made possible by the support of the Syracuse Public Interest Network grant.

Omnia in her cap and gown

Shedid credits many professors for guiding her along the way, particularly Professor Aliza Milner, who is the director of legal communication and research.

“Professor Milner met me as a confused, lost first-year law student and helped me find my way,” says Shedid. “Since then, she has taught me how to advocate for myself and those around me. She is an inspiring attorney and one of the most encouraging teachers I’ve ever had. I feel very fortunate to have learned from her.”

Shedid will graduate this spring with a dual degree and a job waiting for her as an honors attorney with the U.S. government—bringing together her interest in law and public policy.

“My late grandfather once told me ‘You must always think about the people around you, and you must treat them with kindness and compassion,’ and that is what studying law and policy means to me. I want to ensure that the law is accessible to people and that it empowers and protects them. I care a lot about this country, and I believe it deserves leaders and policies that serve everyone,” she says. “I am grateful for the experiences I’ve had at Syracuse Law that have prepared me for the attorney and leader I hope to be, while allowing me to serve my fellow classmates and the Syracuse community.”

Omnia walking up the steps in front of the Maxwell School and looking behind her