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Hashim Syed–Fulbright Open Study/Research Award (Morocco)

Name: Hashim Syed

Class Year: 2019

Hometown: Lawrenceville, GA

Major(s): Biology

Minors or Concentrations: Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies with an Arabic Language Emphasis

Opportunity and Year: Fulbright Program for U.S. Students, 2019-20

Project Summary: I will characterize resistance mutations associated with antiviral medicine for the Hepatitis C virus in genotype one. Specifically, I will identify resistance to the antiviral Sofosbuvir, the only antiviral available in Morocco. My work will improve the efficacy of current and future treatments in Morocco, contributing to important and necessary research. I plan to conduct this research at the Pasteur Institute in Casablanca, Morocco.

How did W&L prepare you for this opportunity? Throughout my time at W&L, I’ve conducted research with different professors in the Biology department and in lab courses. While all of these experiences furthered my research skill set, Dr. Whitworth’s Biochemistry and Dr. Watson’s Neural Imaging courses were particularly influential and really got me interested in doing research after graduating. This year I’ve done research with Dr. Whitworth on two of his ongoing projects, picking up a great deal of good lab practices.

At the same time, I’ve been taking Arabic courses since my freshman year and  my interest in the language and culture has grown each year. As a pre-med Biology major, I never expected I would be pursuing language based opportunities after graduation. Dr. Edwards’ passion for the language was contagious, and his high expectations and willingness to help us outside of class gave me the confidence I needed to pursue an opportunity like the Fulbright, where I would be abroad for close to a year.

Why did you apply for this opportunity? I knew I wanted to take at least one gap year before applying for medical school, ideally doing something fun and exciting while also relevant to my long term goals. When Dean Campbell and Dr. Edwards suggested I look into the Fulbright, I saw the intersection of my academic interests in Biology and Arabic language as well as the opportunity to live and work abroad for a short amount of time.

Post-graduation Plans: After returning from my Fulbright year in June 2020, I will apply to medical schools.

How will this opportunity help you achieve your goals? A biomedical research project for the Fulbright not only shows my commitment to medicine, but will also undoubtedly allow me to develop a deeper understanding of different cultures–an invaluable skill in today’s increasingly multicultural world

Off-campus Experience:

I spent last summer in Morocco studying both formal and local Arabic.

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