[video] Meet Kawsar Ibrahim: 2015 Valedictorian and Commencement Speaker

May 14, 2015

Kawsar with a patient at the health clinic she helped set up with the Global Medical/Dental and Public Health Brigades in Panama (August 2014).

Kawsar Ibrahim, a student of the Macaulay Honors College, is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and minors in Biochemistry, Chemistry and Studio Art.

Kawsar’s parents originally emigrated from Egypt and settled in Brooklyn where Kawsar and her siblings were born. Their family moved to Staten Island about a decade ago, where she graduated as Valedictorian of Tottenville High School.

As a future physician and researcher, Kawsar has been conducting research under the mentorship of Dr. Alejandra Alonso and Dr. Daniel McCloskey at the Center for Developmental Neuroscience. A recipient of the CSI Undergraduate Research Stipend, she studies Tau proteins as a treatment target for Alzheimer’s disease. She has presented her findings at various local, state and national conferences, including the prestigious 2014 Innovative Exploration Forum in Albany and the 2015 National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Washington State. Kawsar has also won awards two years in a row at the Macaulay Honors College Research Symposium and coauthored a publication in Neuroscience Bulletin.

YouTube Preview ImageKawsar has also been a volunteer and biomedical researcher at Staten Island University Hospital’s Heart Institute, where she contributed to research projects and gained insight shadowing cardiothoracic surgeons.

Last August, Kawsar served abroad in Panama with the Global Medical Brigades to bring medical/dental healthcare and education to under-served people. There she also helped build a compost latrine for a family of six as part of a public health initiative to support rural families.

Kawsar representing the College of Staten Island at the Spring 2014 Macaulay Honors College Open House as a student ambassador. (Photo Courtesy of Macaulay Honors College.)

In addition to participating in an indigenous welcoming ceremony while in Panama, Kawsar made Panamanian friends and met Fabian, a young boy who came to the clinic for a check-up.

“He was so excited that we had set up the clinic at his school and did not want to leave,” Kawsar reflects. “Seeing the excitement in his eyes, we gave him a stethoscope to put on. When he came up to me to “listen” to my heart, I remembered playing with my toy stethoscope as a child; so I too put my stethoscope on his chest. His heart was beating so fast that I felt it run through the chest piece and through my fingers—that’s when I knew that I had experienced what our brigade calls the heartbeat of the world.”

Outside of her scientific pursuits, Kawsar enjoys creating artwork through her painting. She also loves watching Arabic dramas, and, as a student ambassador, she represents CSI, mentors, and motivates prospective students to achieve their full potential.

This fall, Kawsar will be starting medical school at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine in pursuit of specializing in foot and ankle surgery.

By Ken Bach

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