Weathering a Storm: Wake Forest MBA Student’s Home Destroyed by a Tornado

3.28.2012 General, Multimedia, School News

While many Wake Forest University Schools of Business students were off soaking up the sun on Spring Break, Vanessa Hosein (MBA ’13) was weathering a storm that will last for months.

Vanessa, a first-year student in the Saturday MBA program in Charlotte, was home studying for Financial Accounting and Quantitative Analysis tests on March 3 when a tornado broke through the silence, ripping through her home, tearing away walls and destroying everything in its path. Trees snapped off their trunks and shot like missiles into the walls of her home. The intense winds tossed around and swept away furniture, clothing, personal belongings and documents. The force of the twister sucked in the garage door, causing the door to wedge onto her car that was parked inside. The home’s privacy fence is gone – as is any sense of normalcy in Vanessa’s life.

Through it all, she is grateful to be alive and thankful that she sent her beloved dog “Gizmo” off to stay with a friend that night so she could focus on studying.

Focusing on studying in the days and weeks following the tornado is a tremendous challenge. As a student in a working professionals MBA program, Vanessa has a full-time job to maintain as well. “It has been very, very difficult. I had to go back to work part-time after one week and full-time after two weeks. I don’t have someone to financially support me other than myself and insurance does not pay for lost wages,” she said.

Vanessa stayed in a hotel for two weeks before moving into a temporary apartment. Anything she could recover from her home has been hauled off to a storage unit. She still has to pay her mortgage, even though her house is unlivable.

She has gone from running regressions and building financial models, to landing knee deep in insurance paperwork, trying to find a way to rebuild her home. Vanessa has been warned that the process could easily last nine months.

But she is not weathering this storm on her own.

“I have very good friends who are my family. They helped me with everything from moving out of the house, securing the property, finding a hotel or an apartment, and taking care of my dog. I can’t say enough about my friends, they have been wonderful,” she said.

“My coworkers and bosses have been excellent as well as my professors and the Wake Forest family who have helped me get caught up with my missed classes and coursework. WFUSB staff members Kyla Acie and Pasquale Quintero have been so understanding and accommodating.”

In fact, many people have reached out to check in with Vanessa and offer her support. “I could not keep up with all the calls, e-mails and texts that I was getting. My phone was going dead all of the time, and I needed to find a way to pass on information to everyone quickly. I’ve never done a blog but it seemed to be the best way to get the info out.”

You can keep up with Vanessa’s news in her “11707Twister” blog (

Wake Forest students, faculty and staff have asked how to embody the school’s Pro Humanitate motto and help Vanessa. The Wake Forest University Charlotte Center staff is collecting monetary donations to deliver to her. Checks, cash and VISA gift cards may be dropped off at the Wake Forest Charlotte Center in Uptown or mailed to: Wake Forest University Charlotte Center, Attention Vanessa Hosein (MBA ’13), 200 North College Street, Charlotte, NC 28202.