Volume 1, Number 14 - JUNE 13, 2011

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Jose Prado
Jose Prado
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SUCCESS STORY: Hira Shabbir graduated on April 29 from North Campus. Dreaming to become the first person in her family to earn a Ph.D.—COURTESY OF HIRA SHABBIR

Marching To The Beat Of Her Own Drum

By Jose Prado

Nineteen-year-old Hira Shabbir has something to prove.

“My parents are always asking me how long its going to take to finish my studies,” said Shabbir, an Honors College biology major at North Campus. “They always pressure me with how much money I will really make.”

Shabbir, who graduated from Miami Dade College on April 29 with a 3.95 grade point average, continues to give them the same answer—“It’s going to take time.”

Shabbir dreams to become the first person in her  family  to earn  a Ph.D.,but with her family originally from Pakistan, she said it has been difficult.

“My family is modern in many ways but they just want me to become a nurse, like my sister,” Shabbir said. “They want me to get the fastest education possible and then get a job. My sister was lucky, not many people get a job right after school.”

According to Shabbir, few women in her culture have ever tried to get a doctorate degree; her mother never graduated from college.

However, Shabbir is determined to change that.

“People always told me to listen to my family, but the things my  family told me were things I never wanted to hear,” Shabbir said.

As a graduate of  Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School, she was always discouraged from joining clubs or partaking in community service activities. However, one club in particular caught her eye—Key Club.  

“It was my parents’ worse nightmare,” she said. “So I lived a double life until college. The only people supporting me right now are my friends.”

Shabbir takes pride in being a “global citizen,” something she exercises  in and out of the classroom.

“Hira is an extraordinary student right now,” said Sandra Martinez, North Campus Honors College director. “Her vision and passion for public health leads me  to believe that she will do great things for all humanity.”

After doing cervical cancer research for the University of Miami and collecting data on the disparities of cancer among women, she was given the opportunity to present her research at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The super-student also participated in the Bridges to the Future program and helped spearhead  the International Relief Leadership Project, a fundraiser used to aid Pakistan after parts of the country were destroyed by a flood  last year.

“The quality of work was way above average. She was the top student in class,” said her physics professor Juan Carlos Catala. “She's very humble and had a lot of respect from the other students; they looked up to her.”

Shabbir is determined to pursue a career in public health research and will be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall.

“I don’t just want to be successful, I want to influence others,” Shabbir said. “I want to be an example to women to pursue their dreams no matter what society tells them to do.”



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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
ethnicity, pregnancy, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, or genetic information.
Contact the Office of Director, Equal Opportunity Programs, ADA and Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for assistance.