Nadia Jawad-A Muslim Student and an Aspiring Surgeon named as University of Michigan’s student of the year
News Source:Arab American News
She is an Arab. She is a Muslim. She is a woman. She wants to be a surgeon. She has a passion for books. She is the University of Michigan’s student of the year, according to campus newspaper the Michigan Daily.
Public policy sophomore Nadine Jawad said she was in a state of disbelief when she was nominated by the publication.
However, given the breadth of her campus activities, the news is not that surprising.
The honor is given yearly to 12 out of U of M’s more than 43,600 students.
Jawad has cofounded Books for a Benefit, a student organization that aims to promote literature in at risk communities. The group has worked with Syrian refugees online and engaged in outreach efforts to assist Detroit Public Schools students. BFB now has five chapters in Michigan colleges.
When Jawad learned she was named Student of the Year, she questioned if the story was a joke.
“That was completely unexpected,” she told The Arab American News. “Typically it’s seniors or people —I feel— are more qualified or esteemed than me. It was incredible that they considered and chose me.”
On her interest in literature, Jawad said she has always been an avid reader.
“Even in third grade, I was always begging my mom to take me to Barnes and Nobel to buy books,” she said. “It’s a way for you to think beyond what you typically think about everyday. When you’re reading, you learn so many things, and I’m dedicated to my education.”
Jawad said she is extremely involved in school. Her studies focus on public health and disease prevention, so her time is centered on working on social justice issues on campus.
“I am an aspiring surgeon,” she said. “When I am a surgeon, I want to work in low income communities and try to improve the healthcare system for those who are less fortunate.”
In her scarce free time, Jawad enjoys spending time with her family and working out.
Jawad’s advice to younger students is to remain resilient and not allow others to doubt them.
“Never let people tell you that you cannot do something,” she said. “Not only as an Arab or a Muslim, but also as a female who wants to be a surgeon, the amount of time people told me that’s an impossibility is overwhelming. If you really want something, listen to people who say you can do it and make sure you are capitalizing on everyone around you and all the resources and networks. You can do anything you set your mind to.”