Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Honors College

The Honors Community

Fatima Syed
Scholarship awards:
2008 Harry S. Truman Scholarship nominee.
Year:
Senior.
Hometown:
Woodbridge, Va.
Major:
Biology with a minor in chemistry.

Fatima Syed

Fatima Syed’s older brother, Hasan, may have entered the Virginia Commonwealth University Guaranteed Admission Program before she did, but three years later she has found her niche in the medical community and the VCU Honors College.

Growing up, the field of medicine always appealed to Syed and her brother, making The Honors College — with its guaranteed medical program — the deciding factor for both to attend VCU.

“One way or another I liked what The Honors College was about,” Syed said. “Living with other honors students at West Grace that first year was really important. You build a lot of connections and when you branch out to your bigger lecture classes — especially the science classes — you have those connections you built at West Grace.”

But for Syed, The Honors College opened the door to a number of other opportunities as well. In the summer of 2007, she spent a month studying at the University of Oxford with five other VCU students and Dr. Timothy Hulsey, dean of The Honors College.

“It was a really good experience,” Syed said. “We tried to soak in as much as we could with the discussions we had. It’s an urban campus, comparable to VCU, with a lot of history.”

Syed will go back to Oxford after her August 2008 graduation to pursue a master’s degree in comparative social policy with an emphasis in health policy.

“There have been so many opportunities for me and I’m positive I wouldn’t have had them if not for The Honors College,” Syed said.

Through her Oxford experience and applying for the national Harry S. Truman Scholarship, she became passionate about integrating public policy into her clinical physician career plan.

“This year I was the Truman nominee for VCU and that just solidified my interest in public policy and health care policy,” Syed said. “I’ve always been interested in non-science subjects as well and it sort of seemed like a natural flow.

“It was one of those things that I can’t see myself being a clinical physician without being able to touch a lot of people’s lives, and the only way to do that is through changing policy,” she added.

Fatima Syed

There have been so many opportunities for me and I’m positive I wouldn’t have had them if not for The Honors College.

Fatima Syed