Volume 20 | issue nº 2 Summer 2018

Shining On

By Hanan Nasser

More in this issue

Budding scholars from each of LAU's seven schools will be heading to major international universities this fall.

While many students jump straight into the job market after graduation, some choose to further their studies immediately. So it is no surprise that budding scholars from each of LAU’s seven schools will be heading to major international universities this fall to continue their education. 

The School of Arts and Sciences has a lot to celebrate this year, with dozens of students moving on to prestigious institutions across the globe. The Department of Natural Sciences in particular has seven graduating students who were accepted into PhD programs with full scholarships at top universities in the United States and Canada.

Jose Zgheib, who graduated this year with a BS in biology and a BS in chemistry, was accepted into the chemistry PhD program at McGill University in Canada, where he will be studying chemical biology. He was exempted from the GRE chemistry exam, which means he was accepted because of his academic work and the recommendation of his professors alone, and he is the first LAU chemistry student to be admitted to the pre-eminent Montreal-based university without a master’s degree. 

Zgheib, who is also a student in LAU’s Honors Program, wants to pursue “a research career by studying biological systems from the chemical perspective.”

He described the variety of programs and inter-disciplinary approach at LAU as “crucial” to getting him where he is now. “Because of this, I developed critical thinking instead of memorization capacities and was able to choose the areas I want to continue in,” he said, adding, “But by far the best thing LAU has offered me is the faculty.” 

At the Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing (ARCSON), Grace Derboghossian was accepted into the BS-PhD program at the prestigious University of Massachusetts in Boston with a full scholarship. Over the past two years, three students were accepted into the program, aided by the academic efforts of ARCSON Dean Anahid Kulwicki, who was instrumental in putting the students in contact with the school.

Derboghossian highlighted two main components that made her undergrad degree at LAU unique: “The research experience that I acquired through participating in the Health Care Research and Evidence-Based Practice course, and the experience that I gained in my community course during my undergraduate study, both helped me to apply for a PhD in population health, as they taught me the significance of underlying factors that contribute to morbidity and mortality.” 

Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) graduate Darine Yassine matched with the leading Houston Methodist Hospital for a one-year PGY-1 pharmacy residency program.

Yassine credits her professors at the School of Pharmacy (SOP) for being “highly knowledgeable, professional and extremely committed to teaching.”

“SOP faculty members familiarize PharmD candidates with our future career opportunities, one of which is residency training. As such, I was well informed about residency programs and research opportunities.”

Meanwhile, Sara Jaafar — who is graduating with an MD — will be conducting research at the University of Michigan School of Medicine in Ann Arbor. Her research will focus on scleroderma — a connective tissue disease that causes chronic scarring of the tissue of the skin and other vital organs.

“My research will focus on clinical trials involving the treatment of scleroderma, as well as pulmonary assessment of these patients to better understand the extensive distribution of the disease,” she noted.

“Fortunately, with the medical program at LAU and the excellent faculty members, we are always introduced to new methods of learning and are taught to question every aspect in order to find a solution to problems and diseases.”

Students at the Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine have the opportunity to take their medical electives in the United States. That experience, Jaafar said, allowed her to meet a huge number of doctors interested in research, and “I was fortunate to find a medical team ready to welcome me to work together.”

At the School of Engineering (SOE), civil engineering graduate Mohammad Sam Hakam was accepted to the Engineering Project Management program at the University of California, Berkeley, consistently ranked one of the top schools in the United States.

Civil engineering was a childhood dream for Hakam. “The level of education at LAU helped me a lot in forming my knowledge in the field. Moreover, the experience of our faculty in the Civil Engineering Department helped a lot in my learning experience and gave me guidance and all the help I needed to reach my goals, determine my career path and find the best graduate school for me.”

He cites the research opportunities he received at the SOE as an essential part of his success. “Full-time faculty members always offer research opportunities for students who have good academic records, and they give the students the opportunity to do experiments in the university labs. I personally worked on research with one of the professors and enjoyed the experience a lot.”

Adnan Kassar School of Business (AKSOB) graduate Christina Lawandos has been accepted into the Master of Management program at the Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Milan. She will be specializing in green management and sustainability. During her studies at AKSOB, Lawandos founded the Animal Rights Club on Byblos campus, thus learning to “create and implement awareness campaigns, manage and coordinate fundraising events and educational seminars, and lead the march on critical rescue operations.” Such efforts, she said, had a positive impact on her university applications.

Certain of her goals, Lawandos is planning to pursue a career in nonprofit management, but her long-term ambition is to “found a large-scale NGO concerned with the causes I believe in the most, notably animal welfare and sustainable development in Lebanon.”

Another Italy-bound graduate is Genny Haddad of the School of Architecture and Design. Haddad is heading to Florence for an MA in fashion brand management at Polimoda, which was ranked the best fashion institute in Italy and among the top ten in the world.

At LAU, Haddad found the tools to turn her ideas into reality. “Our program has exceeded my expectations, as I reached a point in fashion design I didn’t know possible. Combining creativity and practice, I was able to find my own identity.”

Haddad is leaving with many fond memories, her favorite being late nights in the studios to meet deadlines: “In between moments of stress, we found the time to laugh and create special bonds.”

As LAU sends off another cohort into the world, the new graduates will always remember their alma mater as the institute that gave them the solid academic foundations upon which to build successful and consequential careers.