Posts by Ali
- I’m Back! on April 12th, 2013
Okay, I feel bad. It’s been over a month since I last posted. Let me explain!!! A lot of ‘stuff’ happened and I just wanted to share my story with you guys . So in February, I was notified that I was selected as a Truman Scholar Finalist. For all of you who do not know what the Truman Scholarship is, it is one of the nation’s most prestigious scholarships recognizing undergraduates who are committed to careers in public service. Typically, one winner is selected from every state. I was honored of being one of the 11 finalists from New York State. I will give the spoilers right now: I did not win. But I will be honest, I was not “in it to win it.” I applied because I felt I was a strong candidate and to considered a finalist was the ultimate accomplishment for me. But the best part of the Truman Application process (and the bulk of what I want to share with you) was my appreciation for Stony Brook. When I was notified of being a finalist, I was contacted by Ms. Karen Kernan, director of URECA at Stony Brook. She called me in and explained to me what an honor it was to be selected. She also introduced me to Yaseen Eldik, a previous Truman Scholar winner and the first Truman Scholar finalist/winner from SBU. She explained to me that even though winning the Truman is extremely hard (1 or 2 winners out of 11-13 finalists), the preparation would make me a stronger applicant for graduate school. She began to set up mock interviews with a plethora of faculty here at SBU. In this process I began to meet amazing people of different disciplines who all strengthened my understanding of the world around me. They not just gave me confidence, but also motivation that I had a strong base of support here at Stony Brook. The Truman journey really made me appreciate being a “Seawolf.” I spent countless hours reading and analyzing information. It totally changed me for the better (not to sound generic). I just want to tell anyone who is reading my post, that if you come to Stony Brook, you truly “Are in good hands.” The faculty here are ready to support any student for any endeavor. And as one professor told me, “When you shine, we shine.” I just want to thank Ms. Kernan again for helping me in this process. I truly think Stony Brook is blessed to have dedicated faculty who are not just knowledgeable but caring enough to go out of their way to help a student like me. I just want to end this post with a quick shout out to all the people who supported me during this process. The long list also gives an idea of how many great people we have here at SBU, at the different fields we have great educators in. Long Live SBU!!!!!
You guys are the best: Karen Kernan (URECA), Yaseen Eldik (alumni), David Maynard (University Scholars), Rebekah Burroway (Sociology), Dean Miller (Journalism), Dr. Charles Robbins (Dean of the Undergraduate Colleges), Marianna Savoca (Career Center), Maurince Kernan (Genetics), Peter Manning (English), Catherine Marrone (Sociology), Arnout van de Rijt (Sociology), Frank Myers (Political Science), Marcy McGinnis (Journalism), James Klurfeld (Journalism), Robert Pertusati (Dean of Admissions), Jonathan Sanders (Journalism), Kristina Lucenko (Writing).
For anyone interested in learning more about the Truman Scholarship, you can read more at this link: www.truman.gov
Till next time, Peace!
- Research on February 26th, 2013
As a Student Ambassador, I come into contact with a lot of prospective students. One of the most popular questions I get from parents and students alike revolves around the opportunity to research.
Before I give advice regarding research, I must comment that I feel as a student, research is a great way to integrate what I learn in class and apply it to real life situations. Research allows me to work on projects hands-on and engage in a completely new type of learning experience. Also research makes students and researchers think out of the box and develop their problem solving skills.
That being said, I recommend research to all Stony Brook students, especially if they have a diverse area of interest. In addition, a lot of questions I get is: Where, When, and How can I find research? The where is the easy part to answer! Wherever you have interest. Whether it be marine science, business, computer science, mathematics, astronomy, etc … Stony Brook has faculty and staff who is probably in that field of interest who could definitely help you out!
In regards to how… that is a bit more difficult. Many people advise to email faculty and inquire about available research positions. My strategy is a little bit different; I advise that you go up to the professor and show interest. If you show the professor that you have genuine interest and that you really want to learn as much as you can (as well indicate you have read and are familiar with their prior research and as always stay humble), they is no reason why a faculty member won’t try to see what he or she can do. Worst comes to worst, they will tell you that positions are full and there is no space- but hey at least they say it to your face. But odds are, if you really impress them and show genuine curiosity, they will make space for you. After all that’s whats researchers look for the most (not necessarily grades or prior research)-actual interest.
Also, in terms of when, honestly whenever you feel you can donate enough time and energy to research. And honestly, the sooner, the better. Anyways, I will wrap it up. If you guys have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment. I will be more than happy to respond and answer other questions. In the meanwhile feel free to browse these links.
- Check out whats happening! on February 9th, 2013
There’s a lot of things I did not know about Stony Brook until I came here. One thing I realized is that they always manage to rope in talented celebrities every semester. For example, this week the school of Journalism had invited Christiane Amanpour, the chief international correspondnt for CNN. Also, Stony Brook’s Undergraduate Government (USG) brings in celebtries as well. Every Spring Semester, they start off by bringing a comedian. Two years ago it was Aziz Ansari. Last year, Kevin Hart. This year: John Oliver and Wyatt Cenac from the Daily Show! How great is that! And even more, there is always a Spring Concert when they bring a musical performer. Two years ago: Bruno Mars. Last year: Wiz Khalifa. This year: Who knows!!! All I know is about 7 years ago, they brought in Kanye West (as you can tell from my previous post, I love Kanye West). But besides that, I am looking forward to the Oliver/Cenac performance and the Spring Concert!
- What we can learn from Kanye West on January 23rd, 2013
School starts in a week. This time of the year is pretty stressful for high school students; finishing up their applications and in some cases, receiving notifications. For us college students, its time for buying books and waking up early again. I figured, in accord to the New Year’s Spirit, to give five main points of advice to high school students awaiting college responses and how to deal with college rejection.
Many students awaiting decisions are often anxious. They become consumed with unnecessary stress. Honestly, just relax. You have already submitted your applications- for the most part, there is nothing you can do. Just relax. Harvard University does not have a stress monitor implanted within you to determine if your stress level is adequate enough to deem acceptance. Take a breather. Do some yoga. Play basketball. Watch a Bollywood movie.
2) It’s not the end of the world
One part of the college application cycle which is the most daunting to students is rejection. Students feel being rejected is literally ‘the end of the world.’ No. It really isn’t. The sky does not tear apart as you tear open your rejection letter. Trust me, I also felt it was the end of the world when I got rejections. I truly thought I would not be able to pursue my career goals. Boy, was I far from wrong.
3) Things happen for a reason
This is perhaps my personal edict. I truly believe things happen for a reason. Trust me, here is my personal story: I graduated high school as salutatorian. I wont say my SAT scores for personal reasons, but I assure you they were ‘mad’ high. I applied to a few ridiculously competitive schools and was rejected from all of them. I felt horrible and felt like a failure. I did not intend to come to Stony Brook at the time, but it was between SBU and NYU (Free Vs $50,000). You can assume I chose SBU since I am here blogging about this with you. So yea, to be honest, I did not intend to come here. But it for some reason, it just clicked. I felt at home. I made new friends and met my best friend, who I strongly believe is the BEST PERSON IN the world. I got to meet awesome professors and advisors who have been like friends to me (Another shout out to Professor David Maynard). The diversity here made me feel like home. I learned so much out of the classroom through experiences than I did inside. One semester into Stony Brook, I really thank God I was rejected from where I was because I got the opportunity to be here. Like I said, things happen for a reason. Just stick it out and your patience will be rewarded.
4) Who cares about other people?
Yes, really!!! Who cares about other people. When I graduated, I was the only kid in the top 5 ranked kids who did NOT get into an ivy-leaugue school. I felt bummed and once again bad. Mostly because I was jealous and comparing myself to others. If I had a time machine, I would go back and slap myself and tell the old me to not care about other people and just worry about myself. Granted they got into somewhere prestigious, but hey, if I work hard and become super-successful, perhaps I can be the one who gives Stony Brook a huge reputation across the world. Dream Big! Dont dream about others. Also for the side note, I am FB friends with the other 4 kids, turns out, I am doing much better than all of them
5) It’s life
It’s life. Stuff happens. It’s about how you cope with falling down. Life is not easy. Life is not perfect. So just enjoy the ride and relax. If you do not get into your top school, it’s fine. Lift your chin up and make your self so ‘mad’ successful, that the entire world will know your name and the college you went to. Not the college you got rejected from. As the Great Kanye West once said, “If you got the opportunity to play the game of life, appreciate every moment.” ( Yes he said that)
Till next time…Peace!
- Free at Last! on December 19th, 2012
Finals are over. I can sleep for more than 3 hours now. I hope everyone stays safe and enjoys their holiday season.
- All The World’s A Stage on December 9th, 2012
Another example of why Stony Brook is awesome!
This past month, I had been busy with planning an event entitled, “All The World’s A Stage”- a performance competition where we invited student groups, individuals, and even professors to perform. The goal was to raise money for Stony Brook Sunrise Fund (a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with cancer here on Long Island). It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to help this organization. We were fortunate to have three amazing children perform at this event!
Currently, I am one of the founding members and Co-President of SB SHINE (Stony Brook Student Health Initiative to Network and Educate). We wanted to make our first event spectacular and this event was our brain child. However, we did not want to do this alone. One of the great things about Stony Brook is that there are so many other clubs that are willing to help you out. We co-sponsored our event with 6 other student organizations! Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honor Society, Hindu Students Council, Comedians Guild, Pre-Med Society, Phi Chi Epsilon, and Phi Delta Epsilon. All these groups were wonderful and contributed to our first event.
Even with a) one week before finals b) Todd’s Orgo tutoring (which takes the Orgo students away) c) no food and d) two other big events on campus- we were still able to have an attendance of 400! We raised $1000+ and it was wonderful to see a diversity of students show up.
We had a plethora of performance groups such as SB LIVE, SB Yuva, Stony Brook Dance Team, Cadence Step Team and many more. We were even fortunate to have some professors take their time out to appear or perform in our event: Professor O’Neal (Bio Lab), Schmidt (Microbio), Maynard (University Scholars), Miller (Journalism), Lucenko (Writing), Hemmick (Physics), and Nugent (Business). Perhaps, the greatest performers were three children from the Stony Brook Sunrise Fund who were excited that a couple hundred students were there to cheer them on and support them. I was fortunate enough to be one of the emcees of the event.
What was amazing was that all these Stony Brook students took time out to come to this show even a week before the finals. We had a diversity of students; we were even lucky to have some Medical Students as performers and audience members. On the whole it was a memorable night and there are 2 things that I would like to mention that show how awesome Stony Brook is. One, the help we received from all the other clubs. As mentioned, one of the cool things about this event was that it was co-sponsored and each organization helped out with different aspects of the event. Some helped set up, some helped advertise, etc. We all had such a great time working together. Some members got to learn about other clubs and even joined new clubs from this co-sponsorship. A couple of my friends joined Comedian’s Guild while a couple AED members joined SB SHINE. The second aspect was the help we got from Stony Brook program advisors. I would like to make a quick shot out to Ms. Shannon Jayne and Ms. Diane Redo for making this event possible. One truly remarkable thing about Stony Brook is that even with a student body of 15,000 + kids, there are advisors here to help and make your event a success. They helped me every step of the way especially in regards to all the paperwork.
On the whole the event was remarkable and it was a learning experience. I am sure that All the World’s a Stage will be an annual event that will continue to take place even after I graduate from Stony Brook. And with that my parting words are, that wherever you go for your Undergraduate career, try to establish something, make a difference! Work with other student groups! Appreciate your resources (Stony Brook has a lot of them)! Produce something that can endure even after you graduate! And Most importantly, HAVE FUN! Till next time!
- Happy Belated Thanksgiving on November 24th, 2012
Happy Belated Thanksigiving!
I hope everyone had a safe and healthy Thanksgiving Break. With school resuming on Monday, most of us will have to catch up on our studying and homework that we leave for Sunday. In my case, I have to polish up on my scheduling.
Even though I am enrolled in the classes I have to take (requirements) there is always room for electives and such. One of the awesome things about Stony Brook is that there are always advisors to help you with scheduling.
Most students overlook these hard-working men and women, but believe me, they really know their stuff. They give useful suggestions and are very ‘real’ with you. Let me illustrate with a personal example: my freshman year, I was enrolled for Honors Chemistry (Che 141). During Summer Orientation, I signed up for Honors Chem (mostly because other people in my orientation group were signing up for it and I did not want to be odd one out). However, I had an uneasy feeling and on the first day of classes, I went in and asked for an advisor. At that time, most advisors were busy, so I asked to meet with whoever was available one, even if he wasn’t my designated advisor. That’s how I met David Maynard, the MOST AWESOME ADVISOR ever. He was down to Earth and he gave me real, effective advice. No heavy pep talk and unnecessary praising- he was realistic. He told me that most students who took Honors chemistry and had to juggle it with other science courses, had a tough time. So with his help, I dropped Honors Chemistry and resorted to General Chemistry (CHE 131).
Best decision I ever made. Taking CHE 131 was less taxing and demanding. I easily got an A in CHE 131, while my counterparts struggled to get B’s in CHE 141. Now I am not discouraging student from taking CHE 141, but if you are a pre-med who is just looking to get his or her requirements done and have no real passion in the field of chemistry, then YES, CHE 141 IS NOT FOR YOU.
But the point of the story is I would not have made this decision without an advisor. Sometimes, we can’t make the best decision in terms of scheduling because we ourselves have not taken the class yet. Stony Brook advisors really know, because they have years of experience and feedback from other students. So if you are need help making schedules, or do not know what classes to add or drop, please, contact an advisor ASAP. They are there to help you. And no, Ratemyprofessors.com is not always accurate.
Enjoy the remainder of the holiday weekend.
- Salaam- Mera naam Ali hai (My name is Ali) on October 24th, 2012
Okay, so this is my first blog- so let me start by introducing myself. My name is Ali Syed. I am currently in my junior year. I am a double major: Biochemistry and Sociology. I am also a double minor: Adapted Aquatics (that’s right, a minor where all you do is swim) and International Studies. I am also in the Honors College and I am a proud commuter. The plan is to be a multi-billionaire but at the same time, holding an MD Degree and acting in Bollywood movies ( I am a HUGE Bollywood fanatic).
Having three years of experience at Stony Brook, I can honestly attest to the fact that Stony Brook is AWESOME. As a geek who is always studying, Stony Brook has given me many opportunities to be involved in some things I do, which I would love to share with you.
A) Adapted Aquatics- in a nutshell, you use aqua-therapy to help people with disabilities – so I get to do something I enjoy; swimming. At the same time making a difference in the community- On top of that its a graded class that would look nice on a transcript and you get a certificate acknowledging your clinical service. The experience has opened my eyes as I have worked hand-on with patients ranging from Cerebral Palsy to Down Syndrome.
B) Student Ambassador- as a Student Ambassador, I get the chance to represent SBU at official events where past alumni or VIP guests come. Like last week, Ben Cohen, a well-known international rugby player came to SBU to speak out against bullying. The Ambassadors were invited to assist with the event (One day I hope Shahrukh Khan- if you dont know him, wiki him, his picture is under the title of this blog- is invited to SBU so I can assist with the event.)
C) Research- in essence, I research brain stem cells (also known as progenitor cells); in reality, I am dissecting brains of mice. SBU is neat in the sense that as an undergraduate you can become really involved with research. Most of SBU’s faculty and staff conducting research are very approachable. Hopefully, if you have an interest in something- don’t be shy! Approach the professor and do research. And the cool thing is, this is not limited to medical research but all sorts of things- Sociology, Psychology, Arts, History, Music, Politics, Economics, and even Dinosaurs!
Also, I mentioned I was a commuter. I am from Southern Long Island that hits the waters. I do a lot of things in my local community as well. I am an EMS service provider as a volunteer in my local ambulance company. Also, every day, my friends and I get together at the local gym and play hours of basketball. As a commuter, I get the best of both worlds. I get to enjoy activities and events at Stony Brook, while enjoying my mother’s homemade Indian food (Tandoori Naans, Seekh Kababs, and Mutton Korma are my personal favorites) at home.
The point is at Stony Brook, the possibilities are truly endless. You will find groups and organizations that do cool things that you might find interesting. And even in extreme cases, where you don’t see one, you can MAKE YOUR OWN!
Well, I hope my blog was informative and I would love to hear back from any on of you. And I hope you guys enjoyed reading it, and if you didn’t enjoy reading, well hopefully enjoy the picture of Shahrukh Khan. Best of luck! And will write soon!