What leadership roles or volunteer experiences have been important to you during your time at Maryland?
There were many opportunities in which I was able to volunteer and help many organizations, both and health and religious, but the most amazing experience I had was teaching (as a volunteer) at a local Sunday School. I interacted with the students -mainly teenagers- and combined both spirituality and education to inspire them to never settle for the least, but to always strive for the highest of the high.
It wasn't until I transferred to UMD that I became interested in becoming a role model for young adults of my faith. Seeing my students always asking me questions and wanting to do more for the community outweighs all the other great volunteer experiences I have done during the last 3 years.
What has your scholarship meant to you and how has it enabled you to pursue new and exciting opportunities?
The scholarships that I have received were the gift from God to me. They enabled me to become more enthusiastic about learning and working, to try my best to give more than what I have been given.
Because of these scholarships, I now have time to volunteer and do more for my community. I recently started volunteering at a local Sunday School in efforts to push the students forward. This would've been impossible for me to do before.
Before, when I struggled to pay my college fees, I would spend the weekends running from place to place, making phone calls, and write essays to win a scholarship and get some money. My parents are both struggling financially as they have to support my family as well; I could not bring myself to ask them for a penny after all the struggle they've been through for me. As a daughter of immigrants, I know the value of a penny, of education, and of life here in the US. These scholarships have lifted the burden off of my whole family.
I am now able to become more involved in my community, to focus on my studies, and to value every minute of my life here at the university. I am now able to join multiple organziations on campus, including sports clubs, that I was never able to participate in before.
The fact that I know some people were so generous enough to lend a helping hand to students like me makes me determined to fulfill my dream of becoming a cardiologist, and that I am incredibly lucky to be a UMD student.
What is your major, minor, class and graduation year?
My major is Biology (Physiology and Neurobiology) and my minor is Astronomy. I am currently a junior although it is my second year at UMD, and I graduate in December 2017.
What is your Hometown?
I am a US citizen, born in Silver Spring, MD, and a daughter to Egyptian immigrants who are also US citizens. I still do have deep connections to my ancesteral land, but the state of Maryland is my home.
Tell us about your favorite class, extracurricular activity, academic opportunity, community involvement or another unique experience.
Even though my major is Biology, my favorite classes so far have got to be the Astronomy courses offered here. It is what encouraged me to minor in Astronomy, an area of science that I am now learning about as a hobby rather than just for the credits.
I find it fascinating because my perspective of the world and universe has changed drastically. At first I was forced to be concerned only about the human body, but my first astronomy class here made me appreciate the great celestial bodies above us, most of which remains a mystery.
My ASTR100 course made me realize that humans were made for great things, and once you realize there are greater forces out there that you cannot sense, you perception of life changes as well. In ASTR315, we observed asteroids orbiting the sun through an online telescope, and I remember feeling that most of my probelms that I deal with in life are indeed petty, petty and insignificant as the asteroid compared to the sun. Instead, one should look towards what he/she can contribute to the future.
If I could, I would spend hours looking up at the stars all night, and drawing patterns of all the constellations I see. The possibility of finding life on other planets or anywhere else in the universe is especially entriguing to me.