Ayat Abourashed

Hometown: Oxford, MS
College: Pharmacy
Major: Pharmaceutical Sciences
Degree Bachelor's

As a Mississippi-born Muslim-American of Egyptian heritage who speaks three languages, Ayat has a unique perspective to share with her peers in the College of Pharmacy. Dedicated to teaching others new languages and cultures, her goal as a future physician is to serve patients from various cultures with a deep understanding of how patients' religious, social, and economic backgrounds affect the care they need. She writes, “Coming from a culturally diverse background, I appreciate doctors’ ability to interact and treat diverse patient populations . . . personally, I am interested to discover how Indonesians deal with these types of medical problems.” 

This year, she will travel to Indonesia on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grant. While there, she hopes to start a debate club so her students will have more opportunity to practice their English and also to engage them with learning more about issues like health care in their own country. She is especially interested in teaching English in Indonesia “where the culturally inherent gender bias outweighs the law,” she writes. “My parents are Egyptian, and I have lived in Saudi Arabia for four years so I have experienced what it is like to be in a place where gender bias is a major part of society.”

In addition to her studies, Ayat works as a research assistant to Dr. Susan Mendrysa and as a Supplemental Instructor and Team Leader for Biology 110 and 111, helping students with challenging assignments twice each week. She also serves on the Timmy Global Health Public Relations Committee. 

Her supervisors describe her as a strong woman who takes charge and uses her talents to engage her students in learning and create cross-cultural understanding. Holly Keckler, Ayat’s advisor and the Associate Director of The College of Pharmacy, says of Ayat “she is exactly the type of person you would want to have as your future health care practitioner.” In the future, Ayat plans to pursue medical school and work at a teaching hospital. She eventually hopes to serve with Doctors Without Borders.


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