• Omar Elkattawy
  • Class of: 2018

omarMajor: Cell Biology and Neuroscience

 How did you decide on your major?

It is widely advised to major in a field that sparks your interest. Personally, I have always found the human brain to be a fascinating subject. It is amazing to think just how little we actually know about the brain. The uncertainty underlying this field makes it all the more exciting to learn about the fundamentals in order to be equipped with the knowledge necessary to potentially lead new discoveries.

What is it about your chosen field (and the department) that appeals to you?

I found it very interesting to witness the intersection between the material taught in a CBN classroom and the work done in my research lab. I was able to apply lessons I learned in classes such as Fundamentals of Neurobiology to better interpret results of my experiments. Indeed, majoring in CBN gives you an edge in the research/laboratory field.

 Do you have a favorite class/professor within your major?

Yes! I must say that I have met only a few people in my life as supportive and caring as Dr. Shu-Chan Hsu. I was very fortunate to be in Dr. Hsu’s Fundamentals of Neurobiology class. I remember walking into Dr. Hsu’s office feeling very dispirited about my performance on the first two exams. She gave me an incredibly motivating talk about setbacks in life and instilled in me the confidence I needed to overcome this obstacle. I carried her words with me as I was preparing for the final examination and I ended up doing well in the class. Besides from being an outstanding professor and an exemplary CBN student advisor, Dr. Hsu is an amazing person who reaches out to struggling students and lifts them up with her kind and sincere words. Dr. Hsu is a tremendous asset to the CBN department and I am very glad to have met her during my time here at Rutgers.

What are your favorite academic experiences outside of your major?

I took this very interesting class called Religions of the Western World. It compared and contrasted the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It was very enlightening to learn about the faiths of other people and understand their practices and tradition. At the end of the semester, each student was expected to visit a religious institution other than his or her own and write a 10 page paper on the experience. I thought the assignment was very interesting and I really enjoyed it.

What are your other Rutgers activities?

I am involved in the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and had the opportunity last fall to be the Co-Head of its Mentorship Program. I was also on the community service team of the Pakistani Student Association (PSA) and had the chance to help organize an event in which we invited an underprivileged population of women and children from a nearby shelter to a Thanksgiving Dinner on campus.

What are your plans following graduation?

I have been accepted into New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) and will be attending August 2018.

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