By Alan Madlane
We got a press release recently, alerting us to the fact that a local and recent Hamtramck grad, specifically from Hamtramck High School, was making waves in the academic world — winning awards, taking on challenges both in college and in her private life, and generally setting the world on fire.
Naturally, we were intrigued, so we got in touch. The result is this interview, where you can get to know one of our own, Maryam Nour, and follow her on a little bit of her arduous academic journey:
The Review: So, you’re a Hamtramck High School grad, class of 2014? What classes, or instructors, did you particularly enjoy, or feel that helped you? Were you part of any extracurricular groups, sports teams, etc., and if so, did you take anything from those experiences out with you into the real world?
Nour: I graduated from HHS in 2014 with honors.
My favorite courses were Accounting and Marketing with Mr. John Rostek, Newspaper/ Journalism with Mr. Harry Katopodis, and Geometry with Ms. Tonya Wood.
I was encouraged to tutor students who were struggling while taking those classes. I was also part of the National Honor Society and HHS Tennis Club. I played soccer at U of M-Dearborn.
Sports definitely helped me relieve much of the stress I was facing at home, work, and school.
The Review: You received a Difference Maker Award from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Did you attend, or are you currently attending, that institution, or is that not a pre-requisite for being granted this honor? Either way, what were the reasons that they gave you the award?
Nour: I started U of M-Dearborn in 2014, and graduated in 2018 with a Liberal Arts major, with three concentrations: Anthropology, Sociology, and Public Health.
During my time there, I was awarded a Presidential Level — National Engaged Leader Award, Difference Maker Leadership Award, Committed Leader Award and Pre-Professional Health certificate. I was nominated for the awards by faculty and staff members who believed I was making an impactful difference on campus, and had the potential to serve as a future leader.
Selections were based also on academic achievement, integrity, leadership, and creativity, as evidenced by contributions in the classroom, on campus, and in the broader community. A panel of faculty and staff review the nominations, and select students truly representative of the diverse community of UM-Dearborn. Only 50 students are selected from the nominations. You can read more about my award at: https://www.michigandifferencemakers.com/maryam_nour
During my time at U of M, I also went on two study abroad trips. I was hesitant to travel because I wore the hijab, and had never gone out of the country prior to this. But, I put my fears aside and followed my passion.
My first trip was a medical-, dental-, and public health-focused service project located in Central America, and my second trip was to the U.S. Virgin Islands for an environmental ethics project.
At U of M, I also served as a tutor, conducted public health research, and participated in a health internship. I was active in many student organizations, and I also had the opportunity to share my experiences through various engagement speaker panels. I think the most unexpected moment during undergrad was meeting Mark Zuckerberg, who said that I inspire him (https://umdearborn.edu/students/office-student-life/articles/opscholar-difference-maker-shares-study-abroad-experience-after-semester-virgin-islands)!
The Review: We’re told that you’re now presently attending both business and medical school. What are your goals exactly, as far as this daunting sounding schedule goes – what are you hoping to have, degree-wise, by the end of your current academic journey? And how will you then hope to apply that educational background?
Nour: After graduating in 2018, I taught ESL and Reading at Oakland International Academy, a middle school near my hometown of Hamtramck. I noticed a literacy gap in the community, especially for immigrant students, and felt I could make a difference by working with such students to improve their English literacy skills, and instill in them the confidence necessary to succeed – both socially and academically.
I am currently an M.D./ M.B.A. candidate, and my mission is to empower others through quality healthcare and innovation.
Healing is an art, medicine is a profession, and healthcare is a business. By studying the art of medicine, and honing my financial understanding of healthcare administration, I hope to become a highly competent physician capable of refining healthcare.
I believe studying the interplay between science, innovation, and finance will prepare me for administrative level healthcare positions, where I can be at the forefront of change and innovation to improve health outcomes and reduce racial disparities.
The Review: You are also finding time to work at Wayne County Healthy Communities. Tell us about your job there, as much as you can – what your position is, and duties, and so on?
Nour: One of my professors from U of M-Dearborn, Dr. Mouhanad Hammami, offered me a position to work at WCHC as a Medical Assistant. I accepted the offer, and began working there part-time in 2017.
I enjoyed working with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Raouf Seifeldin. My duties involved taking patient medical histories, explaining treatment procedures, collecting and preparing laboratory specimens, performing lab exams, interpreting (results), and also training new employees.
I also had the opportunity to be involved in helping WCHC prepare with its AAAHC accreditation process. WCHC is also a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center and Patient Centered Medical Home.
I left in 2019 to start medical school, however in 2020, due to the pandemic, I came back to Michigan and at that time, Dr. Seifeldin asked if I could help set up the WCHC COVID-19 Testing Program. I served as a COVID-19 Team Specialist in March 2020, and currently I am vaccinating frontline workers, seniors, and teachers.
I really enjoy educating people, working with the team, and giving back to my community.
The Review: How has your family been a part of your story so far?
Nour: My family is always supportive of my endeavors, and they push me toward success. My parents value education, although they never had the opportunity themselves.
In Bangladesh, they were just trying to survive from day-to-day, and I am given the luxury of finding purpose and following my passion.
My biggest fear is my parents not seeing me complete my education and being successful, due to health challenges.
The Review: Feel free to add anything else that you would like to!
Nour: I encourage everyone to do their own research, get vaccinated if eligible, and follow local, state, and federal guidelines.
Also, I benefitted greatly from Dr. Seifeldin’s wisdom and leadership.
Posted March 26, 21