Alumni Souad Outarid Has Formula for Success

Souad Outarid is a teacher at Lavelle Prep.

Teacher, multi-scholarship recipient, Dean’s List member, community volunteer, immigrant, mother. These titles belong to one woman who has seemingly transcended any limitations an international student may impose. Teachers Education Honors Academy (TEHA) alumna Souad Outarid is passionate about all of the hats she wears in life. The Moroccan-born Mathematics major currently teaches at John W. Lavelle Preparatory Charter School, in addition to volunteering locally at the Staten Island Mental Health Department (where she assists elementary students with reading and math). Outarid also lends her time to the Distance Learning program at the College of Staten Island’s (CSI) Continuing Education Program where she tutors GED students and teaches Arabic to non-native Arabic students at the Al-Noor Islamic Society Sunday School.

As an undergraduate student, Outarid earned Dean’s List placement for consecutive years from 2007 to 2012, and was the recipient of the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, The Alfred Harcourt Foundation Scholarship, and the TEHA Scholarship. While all hold a high level of prestige, the Noyce Scholarship was particularly transformative for Outarid as it allowed her to participate in an international teaching internship in Vladimir, Russia. The scholarship program seeks to encourage talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science (including engineering and computer science) teachers. During the 2017 Spring Break, Outarid joined a group of Noyce alumni, led by Dr. Irina Lyublinskaya, to visit Vladimir State University (VlSU). The opportunity supports developing collaboration between the Pedagogical Institute of the Russian university and the Noyce Teacher Honors Academy at CSI. During this time, Outarid co-taught calculus lessons with another Noyce alum to tenth grade students and co-presented a master class to VlSU graduate students.

Outarid exhibited an eagerness to learn about Russian STEM education, which stood out to Dr. Lyublinskaya. However, her own personal story also resonated with the group leader. Dr. Lyublinskaya states, “While traveling together, I learned about her difficult childhood. She shared how much she values education and she is now giving the same opportunities to children she works with. Souad selected to work in a school where over 30% of students are students with special needs. This is a challenging environment for any teacher, especially new teachers. She has a passion to help all children to learn math…Souad is a teacher who puts her students’ needs first. She would spend hours trying to find a way to engage her students in learning mathematics and to build their confidence. She is a life-long learner who searches for new ways of teaching math.”

Souad Outarid sailing with her two sons in Marsa Matrouh, Egypt.

The Richmond native’s various mentors have also noted her dedication to academia as CSI Professor of Mathematics and TEHA Director Dr. Jane Coffee states, “Souad Outarid exemplifies the very best characteristics of a graduate of the Teacher Education Honors Academy. She was well-prepared in her undergraduate Mathematics major and graduated cum laude. Her grades in her education courses are evidence that she adapted well to the U. S. mathematics adolescence education program—something that was new to her.”

Professor Dr. Nelly Tournaki, Coordinator of the CSI Department of Educational Studies, as well as Urban Education at The Graduate Center, CUNY, also noted Outarid’s exemplary teaching as she adds, “As a CSI faculty and a Board member of the Lavelle school, I often visit classes at the school. Souad’s is a model class. I can attest to her excellent pedagogical skills, depth of content knowledge, and most of all, her professional disposition—she has a strong presence, is sincere, warm, compassionate, respectful, and therefore respected.”

While Outarid’s academic life has certainly been filled with major accomplishments, her story goes far beyond the classroom. After losing her mother at an early age, Outarid was raised by her grandfather and sister who instilled in her the importance of education, especially for a woman in the Middle East. This inspired the Mathematics major to pursue higher education, graduating in 2012 with her Bachelor’s degree and subsequently earning her Master’s degree in Adolescence Education, 7- 12 (Mathematics) in 2014. With this dedication to academia, it may not come as a surprise that Outarid was awarded “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” in 2017. With her eyes set on a Doctoral degree, one might wonder what the aspiring professor views as her biggest responsibility. Perhaps the answer sits directly in the classroom, as she remarks, “As an educator, I take my job very seriously, I love what I do, and I take pride in my work. My students and I have a mutual respect.”

This respect and dedication is what makes teachers like Souad Outarid life changers.

 

 

Student Stories Highlight Annual Scholarship Donor Student Reception

CSI President Dr. Fritz, Alima Toure, Maisa Moumen, Francine D’Amato Hatipoglu, and Mrs. Bonnie Fritz at the Scholarship Reception.

More than 100 attendees gathered at the College of Staten Island (CSI) to honor scholarship donors and recipients at the Annual Scholarship Donor Student Reception in the Campus Center’s Green Dolphin Lounge.

The reception served as an informal opportunity for donors to meet CSI scholarship recipients.

“Tonight’s event gives scholarship donors a chance to meet the extraordinary students who are being greatly assisted by your generosity, and the scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to meet and extend their gratitude to those who are helping to fulfill their dreams,” noted CSI President William J. Fritz, PhD, who also highlighted some of CSI’s impressive assets such as Pulitzer prize-winning poet Tyemba Jess, four Guggenheim Scholars, and 15 Fulbright Scholars.

Francine D’Amato Hatipoglu, donor of the Joanne D’Amato, RN and Frank D’Amato Memorial Scholarship, commented that, “This event is an opportunity to celebrate a mutual appreciation… My family and I appreciate the opportunity to think about the wonderful programs CSI has to offer. Mostly, I appreciate the chance to share my parent’s legacy and my wonderful memories of them with the CSI community.”

Also in attendance were donors Judy Afferton (Sgt. Franklin Afferton III Scholarship and Marie M. Afferton, RN Scholarship), Ann Merlino (Dr. Mario J. Merlino Scholarship/John and Filomena Merlino Scholarship), Irving K. Robbins, PhD (Irving K. Robbins Scholarship), and Sally Williams (Clara and Arleigh B. Williamson Scholarship), as well as Samir Farag, President of the CSI Foundation Board of Directors, Board members, and members of the Friend of CSI.

Several students in attendance had the opportunity to describe the impact of these awards on their lives.

For example, Alima Toure was born and raised in Burkina Faso and immigrated to the United States in 2010 to continue her education. One of four children and in an extended family of more than 30 children, she is the first woman ever in her entire family to graduate from college and pursue a master’s degree. Toure is pursuing a Master of Science in Business Management as a supplemental foundation to her career plan to become a Certified Public Accountant.

Maisa Moumen and her husband immigrated to the United States from Syria in 2008. Not long after arriving here, Moumen’s husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Moumen attended two weeks of nursing training at New York University Hospital to learn medical and patient care skills to be able to care for her husband, who passed away after battling the condition for three years. Motivated to pursue higher education in order to build her skills to support her two young children, Moumen enrolled at CSI and is working toward a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

“The stories of our students are truly inspiring; they demonstrate such great resilience in the face of difficult challenges to pursue their education and achieve success through their career paths. They feel an enormous sense of gratitude, accomplishment, and recognition from the opportunities provided by our generous donors,” noted Michele Callahan, Fellow and Scholarship Advisor.

 

Sharmin Pathan ’19 Engineering a Bright Future

Sharmin Pathan working on the Satellite Design Project.

 

Watch out! Sharmin Pathan ’19 is taking on the world of science full throttle. Studies show that about 20 percent of engineering graduates are women, in which only 11 percent are practicing (Huffington Post). Hoping to make up the latter, Pathan, the 2017 National Grid scholarship recipient is taking an active role on campus to ensure that these figures become a thing of the past.

 

The 20-year-old Yonkers resident is currently the chapter president of the Society of Women in Engineering (SWE), and is in the process of starting her own SWE club. While some may find themselves overwhelmed with the responsibilities of leadership and time management, Pathan has extended herself beyond one activity to encourage other females to pursue their interests in fields that might otherwise shut them out. Pathan is currently a participant in SWE’s Satellite Design Project in which she lends her talents to 3D rendering of various satellite system components and research on the pico-satellite’s structures and mechanisms.

 

The Yonkers High School graduate is currently an intern for CSI’s Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP). STEP is a Saturday program that helps students from grades 7 through 12, who demonstrate an interest in fields of science, health, engineering, education (math and science), technology, and other licensed professions. As a participant, Pathan has assisted seventh and ninth graders in the Engineering field which she feels helps “encourage” and “inspire” them. She credits this opportunity and experience to STEP/Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), project director Debra Evans. Pathan feels as if the program has given her “the confidence to be more involved with students and encourage them to join STEM field majors.”

Pathan graduated from Yonkers High School.

 

Similarly, the Engineering Science major has been an asset to the program and community, as director Evans notes, “Bringing Sharmin Pathan into the lives of our youth was the best investment for the STEP program.  Sharmin has taken our seventh through ninth grade students on a Satellite journey, and our students are eager to attend the STEP program each Saturday morning. Thank you Sharmin for bringing academic excitement into the lives of our youth.”

Newly appointed CSTEP program coordinator Karl Francis has taken note of Pathan’s hard work and growth as a member of the College. Based on their previous experience, he recalls, “I’ve known Ms. Pathan in a number of different capacities, over the last couple of years as a member of the College of Staten Island SWE chapter, mechanical engineering research student on the Satellite design project, and within the last few months as a CSTEP Scholar; through all these experiences, Ms. Pathan consistently demonstrates, a commitment towards her academic, research, and career goals and a level of professionalism that not only gives rise to impressive results, but inspires others to do the same. This consequently, makes her a natural leader and excellent fit as the new CSI Chapter SWE President!”

Though she is incredibly active here on campus, the sophomore isn’t limiting her efforts to the CSI community. Born in Gujrat India, Pathan is still looking forward to studying abroad, preferably in Germany. While she continues to pursue her Bachelors, and subsequent Masters, Sharmin still finds time to reflect on her experience at CSI thus far which has sparked her own hopes to carry out philanthropic efforts. She states, “CSI has offered me so many outstanding opportunities to gain critical experience in my field. As I continue to get that support, one day, I hope to be in the position to give something back as well.”

In intensive fields where women often appear as hidden figures, Pathan and future counterparts to come, act as flashlights to a new path.

CSI Alumnus Vincent Wong ’15 Attending Upstate Medical University

Vincent Wong at an Americorps Your Park! Your Health! event.

Saving the world may very well be on Vincent Wong’s future agenda. The 23-year-old Macaulay Honors College (MHC) alumnus achieved a tremendous amount in his four years at the College of Staten Island, which speaks both to his work ethic and thrill for adventure. The recipient of several scholarships and awards, including The Jack Nash Scholarship (2014) and Psychology Departmental Award (2015), Wong is currently a medical student at Upstate Medical University at Syracuse, where he’ll be starting his clinical rotations this summer, with an interest in family medicine.

During his time on campus, the Psychology major and former club vice president was heavily involved with Project Reach, a peer-mentoring program for college students with learning disabilities. As a student researcher, he worked closely with Kristen Gillespie-Lynch, PhD, developing a thesis on the impact of mentoring on the mentors and their success rates. Reflecting on his time with Dr. Gillespie-Lynch, Wong states,

“She is one of the nicest people I know. She allowed me to conduct research with her for two and a half years and guided me every step of the way. She encouraged me to enter various conferences to present my research, which was one of the best-presented undergraduate research at the conferences.”

The admiration is mutual as Dr. Gillespie notes, “Vincent was a huge asset to the mentorship program. He was an exceptional mentor for several students, including a student with a disability whom he inspired to become a mentor himself. His sense of humor and natural exuberance created joy in the students he worked with.”

In addition to his work on campus, the Brooklyn Technical High School graduate, also participated in several extracurricular activities.

Wong was a member of the CUNY Service Corps program, which allowed him to work at the Prospect Park Zoo. Some of his responsibilities included managing the zoo database and helping the staff coordinate special events.

Of his many activities, one program Wong found to be transformative was AmeriCorps. After hearing about the opportunity at the Macaulay job fair in Manhattan, Wong knew that AmeriCorps would be an enriching and life-changing experience for the aspiring doctor. AmeriCorps is a civil society program supported by the U.S. government, foundations, corporations, and other donors engaging adults in public service work with a goal of “helping others and meeting critical needs in the community.”

In addition to the special bond he shared with Sheridan, Wong experienced nature in a unique way. He states, “It opened an entirely new world that was unknown to me before. I always thought of nature being far away and having to transverse hundreds of miles to find a small quiet place to enjoy. However, Gateway National Park is only 45 minutes away on bike. Not only was it super close, it was also a hidden gem.”

Vincent Wong demonstrating proper technique at the Americorps event.

During this time, Vincent learned how to kayak and rescue other kayakers, and paddled to an uninhabited island off the coast of Brooklyn where a pack of horseshoe crabs greeted him and his peers.

Another memory the medical student holds fondly was traveling to Sandy Hook Beach to camp overnight. He recounts, “I remember sitting by the fire with the vivid night sky over my head. The next morning was a marine demonstration. Another counselor and I walked along the shore with a huge net. The captured animals were quickly returned to the ocean after we showed the public all the various species of small fishes that lived in these waters. Overall, this experience taught me to enjoy nature just a little bit more.”

Although it may seem as if he has conquered the world on his own, the current medical school student and Syracuse resident credits his success to a number of individuals including Charles Liu, Lisa French, and the entire Macaulay Honors community.

Wong has also been an asset to the MHC community, “We are very proud of Vincent Wong. He is a genuine, kind, and humble person whose wit and intelligence will help to make him a wonderful doctor one day,” said Lisa French, Associate Director of the Macaulay Honors College at CSI. “Jovial, joyful, and inspiring—a pleasure to have as a student—that’s what comes to mind when I think of Vincent!” adds Charles Liu, Macaulay at CSI’s faculty director.

Wong encourages fellow students to cultivate these kinds of relationships, which made him feel like “family,” as he states, “Students should take the time out to develop and nurture a relationship between a professor or staff member. This relationship will help them grow as a student and as an individual.”

 

CSI Alumna Soaring to New Heights: Lucinda Zawadzki ’15 Attending University of Oxford on Full Scholarship

Lucinda Zawadzki will attend the University of Oxford in the fall.

Macaulay Honors College (MHC) alumna, Lucinda Zawadzki ’15 has received a full scholarship to the University of Oxford to pursue a PhD in Zoology.

Through the Oxford-Christ Church-Natural Motion Graduate Scholarship, Zawadzki will study full time at the University from October 2017 to September 2020 with all tuition, college fees, and living costs covered.

“I am extremely excited to attend the University of Oxford for my graduate studies. After finding my passion studying birds, I knew that I wanted to continue my studies in graduate school, but I never imagined being able to do so at such an amazing institution. This opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I cannot wait to begin my studies in the fall,” said Zawadzki, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science with honors in Biology, minoring in Biochemistry and Chemistry, and was the Class of 2015 Salutatorian and recipient of multiple scholarships while at CSI.

At the University of Oxford, Zawadzki plans to study vagrancy in birds as an indicator of climate change by conducting research with the Oxford Navigation Group.

Zawadzki plans to study Zoology.

“Through use of existing databases and fieldwork, I will be studying how vagrancy drives movement in bird populations, and whether vagrancy is due to misorientation or an adaptation. To date, no such analysis has been performed. This work is important in terms of climate change, as many organisms will need to adapt to changing conditions through dispersal,” Zawadzki said.

She was also selected as a finalist in the very prestigious British Marshall Scholarship, a first for CSI in this particular scholarship competition. She has also received an honorable mention from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and two honorable mentions from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

Zawadzki reflects that, “I have learned that if you have a dream, never give up. I knew this already from college, when I faced the dilemma of switching majors and changing research directions after I discovered my love of biology… challenges do not end in school; they continue after you graduate. However, no matter what roadblock may stand in your way, if you have a goal, and you work really hard, you will achieve it. From senior year of college I knew that I wanted to study birds for a living, and now I have a real path to that dream. I worked hard to get here, and now, day by day, I am slowly making my dream a reality. And I could not be happier.”

Read more about Zawadzki on CSI Today.com.

 

National Grid Fuels the Future of CSI Engineering Students with Three-year Scholarship Investment

Kandace Rodriguez, Dr. Antoniades, and Bahira Akramy at a luncheon at CSI.

National Grid empowers tomorrow’s workforce through sustained commitment to the College of Staten Island (CSI) and STEM students

National Grid has a long- standing partnership with CSI providing scholarships to support students interested in advancing in engineering, and in general math- and science-related careers, and supporting workshops to engage high school students in the STEM curriculum.

The company has provided a grant, which has been allotted to the College over a three-year period to support STEM scholarships and National Grid’s Engineering Workshop Series with local high schools. Scholarship recipients are selected by the College of Staten Island’s Scholarship Selection Committee of the Career and Scholarship Center. Any number of scholarship awards in any amount may be made each year, up to the fund balance available for spending. Qualified students must submit the appropriate College-approved financial aid form each year to be eligible for an award.  This year, there were 11 scholarship recipients.

There was a time when Kandace Rodriguez ‘17 worked two jobs while attending school full time, and the 27-year old College of Staten Island (CSI) Electrical Engineering student is well aware of how stressful this schedule can be. As a recipient of the National Grid Scholarship, Rodriguez can focus less on funds and more on her studies.

“This scholarship will allow me to continue to pursue my degree. Tuition can become quite a burden and while studying engineering, it is very difficult to have a job and a great GPA,” commented Rodriguez, who plans to pursue a Master’s in Bioelectronics or Electrical Engineering. “Sustainable power systems intrigue me, and in the future, I would love to be a part of the innovation in more green and sustainable power systems,” she said.

Rodriguez, a member of the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), is grateful for the Scholarship as well as the support she receives at CSI.

“The CSI Engineering program is outstanding. I previously attended a large university and remember feeling very disconnected when I could not speak with a professor or advisor concerning difficulties,” noted Rodriguez.

Another elated and grateful Scholarship recipient, Bahira Akramy ‘19, plans to use skills she obtained at CSI to become a Professional Engineer (PE).

“I was so happy because I felt that my hard work had been recognized and this made me feel motivated to work even harder,” commented 19-year old Akramy, a Verrazano Honors student who is also a member of the IEEE and the Roosevelt Clubs.

The scholarship recipients were recognized at a meet-and-greet event at CSI where representatives from National Grid Inc. congratulated students on their success, learned about the value of the opportunity provided to them, and commended them for their hard work.

“National Grid – and the energy industry as a whole – needs to get young people on board with sustainability and inspire a new generation of STEM professionals,” said Frank Lombardo, Director, Construction and Maintain, National Grid.  “The company is committed to focusing our community investment on building a qualified and skilled workforce for the future and our partnership with CSI helps support students who are interested in developing productive math- and science-related careers.”

“National Grid has been extremely generous and supportive of our high school student outreach as well as the college student scholarship programs for the last seven years. Their passion for STEM starts from their top management and trickles down to their technical staff as is evident by recent visits to CSI by their executives as well as their amazing engineers and management teams. Their support of our programs has resulted in spectacular increases in student enrollment in STEM at CSI and in particular in Engineering where we have experienced a student enrollment growth of over 150% over the last three years and the emergence of several new programs,” said Prof. Neo Antoniades, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Engineering Science and Physics and National Grid Inc. Workshop principal investigator.

“National Grid is committed to enhancing STEM education in our communities and developing the next generation of engineers and scientists,” said Mauri Myers Solages, Manager Corporate Citizenship.  “Our partnership with CSI supports National Grid’s ‘Engineering Our Future’ initiative to build a qualified and skilled workforce.”

 

Helena Rubinstein Scholarship Recipients Pursuing Their Dreams

Scholarship winner Petronilla Tesoriero and her two children. 

Hard times had fallen on Petronilla Tesoriero, who, divorced at 39 years old with two children, felt like she had “lost everything.” One of the recipients of the Helena Rubinstein Scholarship, the College of Staten Island (CSI) student is now able to move forward in her education and her career.

“The Helena Rubinstein Scholarship has allowed me to get my self-esteem back and get into a career that I always wanted to but couldn’t afford. It also helps that when I put on my résumé that I attended CSI, companies will take me seriously,” said Tesoriero, who will graduate as a Certified Nursing Assistant.

The Helena Rubinstein Foundation provides scholarship monies to CUNY for Continuing Education students each semester. In the Spring 2017 semester, approximately one-fourth of all funding, a noteworthy portion, was awarded to College of Staten Island (CSI) students.

“CSI is truly a great school. The staff accommodated my needs as a single mother of two young kids. I had such a great experience with the College and with the people that offered me this lifetime of an opportunity to receive a degree in something that as a child I always wanted to do,” said Tesoriero, who plans to become a Registered Nurse.

“This Scholarship helps to transform the lives of students who are hard-working and may not have had the opportunity to return to school without assistance. We are grateful to the Helena Rubinstein Foundation for their continued generosity and commitment to the needs of our students,” commented Chris Cruz Cullari, Executive Director of Continuing Education and Professional Development.

Another proud Scholarship winner, Richmond Bradshaw Jr., noted that, “CSI impacted me by giving me a widespread choice of careers and fields to choose from and also providing financial and professional assistance to make these once far-fetched dreams and hopes a reality.” Bradshaw will graduate as a Phlebotomy Technician with future plans to excel in higher education even further and work in the field he loves.

Richmond Bradshaw, Jr. is also a Scholarship recipient.

Clinical Medical Assistant student Monica Pignatano​ is also grateful for the award. “This will afford me the peace of mind to completely concentrate on my studies. I will be able to give back to the Foundation with my graduation and high grades. CSI has allowed me to have a career in life that I love,” said Pignatano who plans to pursue employment at New York University Medical Center.

“The Helena Rubinstein Continuing Education Scholarship Fund for Career Advancement is open to individuals who seek to advance their careers through education and training, and who do not have access to other sources of funding that can pay for tuition and fees. Scholarship applicants may also be disadvantaged individuals who are unemployed or seeking a career change,” according the CUNY Website.

Rachel Furhang ’17 Takes on Research and Much More

Rachel Furhang working in Dr. Alonso's Lab.

Not only does Rachel Furhang ’17 have a white belt in jiu jitsu, she has certainly reached “black belt” status in the academic arena. The College of Staten Island (CSI) Macaulay Honors College (MHC) student is a recipient of the impressive Rosemary O’Halloran Scholarship. The Biochemistry major, who is minoring in Mathematics, is also working on an honors thesis in Biochemistry with Alejandra del Carmen Alonso, PhD, focusing on understanding the tau protein’s pathogenic state.

A graduate of Ma’ayanot Yeshivah High School in Teaneck NJ, the 21-year-old has always had a “clear vision” of what she wants to accomplish.

“When you are working toward a goal, all your choices become easier to make. That said, a goal is just the road map. Hard work will take you the rest of the way,” said Furhang, a Bulls Head resident, who was born in Manhattan.

She is grateful to Dr. Alonso who “has been helping me understand the components necessary to drive forward a research project and has very generously spent time guiding me through my honors thesis.”

“I was lucky that Rachel chose my lab to work in. From the beginning I noticed that Rachel is a special student. While we were discussing the research project, she not only was able to follow the research objectives, but she was jumping ahead and asking questions on how to answer unsolved problems. She designed her research actively. Not too many students have that capacity that requires another level of abstraction. Rachel is making excellent progress, and I am sure she will leave us with more pieces to build our proposed mechanism of neuronal disruption in Alzheimer disease,” noted Dr. Alonso.

In addition to her busy academic life, Furhang is also a note-taker for the Center for Student Accessibility, has served as Vice President of the Pre-Medical Pre-PA club, and was a part of the CUNY Service Corps, placed at the Institute for Basic Research.

Rachel Furhang in Zion National Park, Utah.

Furhang studied in Hong Kong in fall 2015, tutoring students in English and Biology, learning Mandarin Chinese, and taking in the local culture. She calls the experience “one of the most memorable parts” of her time as an undergraduate.

“Studying abroad was fun, but it also taught me many skills about learning across different cultures,” said the student, who also spent a summer at the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine studying the PTEN protein, which is implicated in cancer and autism.

As a student in Charles Liu, PhD’s, Science and Technology seminar, Furhang continued to impress with her broad interests and pursuits.

“Did you know that Rachel’s also a talented painter and digital artist?” asks Dr. Liu, Director of the Verrazano School and Macaulay Honors College. “Whether it’s science, art, culture, or anything else, Rachel is unafraid to push limits and bend boundaries – and we in the CSI community are all enriched by her uplifting audacity.”

Furhang plans to pursue an MD and PhD dual degree and become a medical scientist, focusing on the fields of neurodegenerative diseases, bacterial evolution, and the genetics behind both. Naturally, her plans include obtaining that black belt in jiu jitsu.