Muslim Named Univ. of Michigan Student of the Year

CAIRO – A young Muslim aspiring surgeon student has been named student of the year in the University of Michigan, offering a role model to Muslim and Arab students in America.

“That was completely unexpected,” Nadine Jawad, who studies to be a surgeon, 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.”

The news were made public earlier this month by the campus newspaper the Michigan Daily.

Hearing the news, public policy sophomore said she was in a state of disbelief when she was nominated.

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.

The organization reflected Jawad passion for literature since young age.

“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.”

Her studies focus on public health and disease prevention, so she works 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.”

Offering a role model to younger student, Jawad urged them 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.”