photo: Marvin Moore

Family Ties

All-star science student Sylvia Abdelgawad won’t be losing touch with her Saint Mary’s community

By Suzanne Robicheau | spring 2014

Saint Mary’s University is far more than a school for fifth year Bachelor of Science student, Sylvia Abdelgawad. “For the past five years, Saint Mary’s has been the family that pushed me to grow and helped me to exceed my own limits,” says Abdelgawad, who graduates in May with an Honours degree in Biology and Psychology. “It will be very difficult to leave here after graduation.”

Abdelgawad jumped into school life in her first term at Saint Mary’s with intramural athletics, and went on to join the African Society, the Commerce Society, and Saint Mary’s Enactus team as an executive member.

A committed community volunteer, she has worked with World Universities Services Canada to initiate a refugee advocacy program; and helped with Feed Nova Scotia, the Halifax Jazz Festival, and the Cerebral Palsy Association.

Saint Mary’s has given me so many incredible opportunities,

“Saint Mary’s has given me so many incredible opportunities,” she says. “In addition to being able to do important research in environmental and remediation chemistry, I’ve been invited to attend academic conferences; teach peace education in Northern Ireland; work on campus in a number of meaningful positions; and serve as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for Saint Mary’s University Student Association (SMUSA).”

As an international student from Egypt, Abdelgawad appreciates the support she received from her university “family.” “Everyone on campus has been so helpful during this time of political turmoil in my home country.”

Abdelgawad graduates from Saint Mary’s with two of SMUSA’s highest awards, one for her contribution to the student body through volunteerism and philanthropic endeavors, and the other for her outstanding contribution to extra-curricular activities. Medical school may lie in the future, but for now, Abdelgawad has her heart set on finding a job at Saint Mary’s. “This is where I belong,” she says, “and I want to give back to the family that has given me so much.”

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