Deering High School, 2014
University of Maine, 2018
Current town: Gorham
“Build bridges, don’t burn bridges.”
Thoalfakar arrived in the U.S. from Baghdad, Iraq, in 2009, speaking no English. Five years later, he graduated in the top 4% of his high school class. He graduated from the University of Maine with high honors in chemical engineering. He credits the strong support of his family, the Mitchell Institute, and long hours of work for his success.
What is your current profession?
I work for ON Semiconductor as a process engineer, making semiconductor chips that play a crucial part of everyday life, from phones to cars to health care devices. My work requires me to wear a bunny suit that is a protective garment for use in a clean room and controls any sort of particles in a fabrication site. It’s exciting to be part of everything that is future-facing. Since I was a kid, problem-solving has been a key interest for me. How can I solve the problem? How can I think outside the box?
What is your favorite spot in Maine?
I love the Eastern Prom in Portland. Whenever I am tired, I go there to relax. I’ve lived in several places in Maine, but Portland is my favorite; it’s not too big, not too small. Maine is the right place for me. I love the peacefulness here and I definitely want to be in Maine for my career. Maine teachers, the Mitchell Institute, and college friends have become my family since it was just my parents and me when we arrived here.