Marching To The Beat Of Her Own Drum
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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