Breaking Down Barriers
2022 graduate Mariam Sayed will use her unique blend of skills (a dual major in French and physiology) to pursue her dream of empowering underprivileged women in Africa.
Breaking Down Barriers
2022 graduate Mariam Sayed will use her unique blend of skills (a dual major in French and physiology) to pursue her dream of empowering underprivileged women in Africa.January 23, 2023
Mariam Sayed double-majored in French and physiology, disciplines that seem unrelated but find their overlap in her chosen career field: delivering medical care and education to underprivileged women in the francophone regions of Africa.
Many of the impoverished French-speaking women in these regions can’t access medical care and are stymied by language barriers when they do encounter a healthcare provider. Mariam plans to become a physician, join Doctors Without Borders, and serve this specific population in their preferred language.
Mariam’s passion for breaking down financial, educational, and language barriers was born from watching her own mother struggle against them. Mariam’s parents came to the U.S. from India but divorced when Mariam was 13. This left her mother with children to feed, no degree, few job options, and a communication barrier. Her mother somehow managed to make ends meet while putting herself through school to gain more skills.
Today, Mariam is inspired by the prospect of helping women like her mother. She couldn’t have done it without MSU.
“I came to [MSU], I actually toured the university, and I saw so many different things,” Mariam says. “And I decided, ‘I have go to here.’” She knew that MSU’s honors college would offer a comparatively short path to a double major, and she wanted all the opportunities available at a top-notch research institution.
As the daughter of a single immigrant parent, money was a concern. “Coming in, finances [were] a big part of deciding what university I would go to,” Mariam says. Fortunately, MSU also offered the scholarship options she needed to cover the costs. Her involvement with various organizations during her freshman year opened more doors to financial support for the remainder of her undergrad journey.
“What Michigan State offered me was the flexibility to be able to pursue both passions and turn them into a career,” Mariam says.