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Honors Students Inducted Into Iron Arrow
By: Hallee Meltzer
 
The highest honor attainable at the University of Miami, Iron Arrow recognizes those individuals in the community who exemplify its tenets of love of alma mater, character, leadership, scholarship, and community. The society was founded in 1926 and this past November Iron Arrow inducted 34 new members. I sat down with 4 of those new members in December, who are also members in the General Honors Program, to find out about their experiences here at the University of Miami.
 
alawa 
 Karam Alawa
 Miami, FL
 Senior
 Biomedical Engineering
 
What was the reason you picked your major?
I’ve always loved engineering, circuits, and programming. In high school I took all the science courses and they really interested me. I just thought the human body was perfect machine, and knew then that I wanted to study it.
 
Which activities are you involved in on campus?
I’ve been heavily involved in the Department of Orientation and Commuter Student Involvement as a Commuter Assistant for two years and an Orientation Leader for one year. As a freshman, I attended a student-run leadership retreat called IMPACT, and the past three years I’ve helped facilitate it too. Last year I served on the Homecoming Executive Committee and this past year I was the chair. I’m also part of President’s 100.
 
Do you work an off-campus jobs?
Since late Spring of my freshman year, I’ve worked at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in a biomedical engineering research lab. I work part time every semester and full time in the summers. I just asked one of my professor after class one day about his research and he invited me to come work with him.
 
What are your plans for the future?
I’m currently applying to medical school. I would love to go to UM, but I’m from Miami so it would be nice to explore another place. I’d like to be a doctor but also continue my involvement in research. My field of study is very translational. Doctors with an engineering background know what’s physically possible when it comes to creating technological solutions to medical problems. They have a different understanding of how to implement something. I want to improve the things I see as a doctor with my engineering background.
 
What is your favorite part of being a student at the U?
I love that we are strong in mostly everything. When you think about where you want to go to school you have a bunch of different realms you can consider that create the well-rounded college experience. UM is top school for all of them and President Shalala has done a great job of skyrocketing the school. I wouldn’t be who I am without getting involved in campus life, and I would never change my experience for anything.
 
If you could pick one super power, what would it be?
Flying. I’ve been skydiving before and looking at things from way up high takes you aback. It’s really awe striking. Plus it’d be nice to avoid Miami traffic.

 

hennessey
 
  Michaela Hennessy
  Forestdale, MA
  Senior
  Marine Affairs
 
What drove you to your major?
I don’t really know. It was honestly a random decision when I applied to college. It just sounded interesting and I wanted to get out of the cold. Freshman year I helped out with a whale stranding and that was a really cool experience.
 
Which organizations are you involved with on campus?
I am a resident assistant for Mahoney Residential College, president of Panhellenic, and for the past two years I have been on the Homecoming executive board. I am also co-chair for the Orange Festival, which is a spring tradition similar to homecoming, that takes place right before spring break. I joined alcohol awareness campaigns, such as Pier 21, through my involvement in greek life, and as the president of Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol I am trying to revitalize initiatives.
 
What are your plans for the future?
I’ve been accepted to Teach for America, and I plan to head back to Massachusetts next fall to begin that after graduation. I’d like my career to take an educational direction. My dream job is to work for an aquarium, organizing kids programs, or possibly working for a conservation group.
 
What’s been your favorite class at UM?
Religious Issues in Death and Dying. It’s not typically something you think you would learn about in college, but it’s thought provoking. This course changes the way you think about life and death.
 
What was the best part of Iron Arrow initiation?
The best part was getting to know people successful in all different areas of campus. I got cross paths with people I wouldn’t have otherwise and hear from them about their experiences.
 
If you could pick one super power, what would it be?
Time travel. I think it’d be cool to be in all the historical events we read about.

 

holmes  
  Jasmine Holmes
  Tallahassee, FL
  Senior
  Accounting
 
What was the reason you picked your major?
It was a mixture of things. I wanted to be a doctor for a long time but in high school I volunteered with hospitals and it wasn’t the right fit for me. Business seemed very practical. My father is an accounting professor and after sitting in on his class one day I thought “Hey this makes sense with the way that I think, the way that I problem solve.” A week long program sponsored by PWC in Rhode Island in June 2009, sealed the deal. After two internships with PWC, I have accepted a full time offer to work in January 2015, after I graduate from the accelerated masters program here at UM.
 
Which clubs are you involved in on campus?
In the business school I am involved with a few organizations. I serve as the Institutional Memory Chair for Hyperion Council. Hyperion Council is a mixture of an honors society and service organization that uses the business school to serve the community locally and globally. I am also the vice president of the National Association of Black Accountants, which I helped my friend charter on the UM campus just last October. On the Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Board for the Business School I serve as the Financial Deputy. Finally, I am the president of Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society. The motto is “Scholars chosen to lead, united to service,” and in the past it was the female equivalent of Iron Arrow but now both honor societies are co-ed.
 
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Hopefully I will be a certified public accountant and also be a certified internal auditor. Maybe married, with a family, preferably still living in Miami. The accounting track has so many different places it can take you, I’m just excited for going along for the ride.
 
What’s been your favorite class at UM?
Tough choice! I have to pick between two, and neither are business related. It’s between Books That Matter and Africa in Cuba. Africa in Cuba was a very different type of class that allowed me to study a “taboo” topic through a different lens. Books That Matter was also a class with a very different format. We would have dinner and talk about books. It was so much fun, all I could think was “Wow this is a class?” I picked up very interesting reads that I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Anytime I meet a Foote Fellows or Hammonds Scholar I highly recommend they take it.
 
If you had a million dollars, how would you spend it?
Ten percent to tithe, invest thirty percent, save thirty percent, and use the other thirty percent for grad school. Maybe buy a house or condo if there is any left. I try to be conservative with my spending, at least until I have certain income.
 
What advice would you give to freshman at UM?
Do what you’re passionate about. Even if you don’t see how it makes sense in your master plan, it’s the random part of your resume that will attract someone. You restrict yourself from being diversified from everyone else by denying yourself what you want to do. If you’re doing something great, people will notice, even if you don’t think they do.

 

patel    
  Roshni Patel
  Palm City, FL
  Senior
  Neuroscience
 
What drove you to your major?
It was the research I did with Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg in his lab at Bascom Palmer, during my Freshman year. In high school I knew I wanted to go into medicine, but I was unsure which field. Shadowing during my undergraduate studies taught me what it meant to be a doctor. Then when the classes I took in psychology and neuroscience coincided with the work I was doing outside school it really sparked my interest.
 
Which activities are you involved in on campus?
This year I was co-chair of Gandhi Day. I’ve also been the site leader and education co-chair for UM Alternative Breaks. It’s really interesting work, I help explain the theory behind alternative breaks before and after trips. Another event I assist is Tunnel of Oppression. It is a three day multisensory experience that helps students recognize forms of oppression and learn what we can do about it.
 
Do you work an off-campus jobs?
This semester is my first time ever having a job. I work in the Department of Family Medicine, part of Jackson Memorial Hospital. I review resident’s files for treatments and requirements met, and grade quizzes for graduate students.
 
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
The next 10 years I see myself in school still, training for medicine, completing my residency, and so on. Further down the line I’m not sure yet. My biggest struggle is planning how to have a career in medicine and continue serving my community. At some point I’d like to travel and volunteer abroad. My experiences have taught me that all issues are interconnected. That’s part of what I love about medicine is the interconnectedness between science and people.
 
What was the best part of Iron Arrow initiation?
It’s not specific to Iron Arrow, but I loved learning about our school’s and campus’ history. I had wanted to do this before and initiation finally forced me to. It’s amazing the little things you make connections between. There is a book on Iron Arrow in the public library anyone can read, to see UM’s interesting traditions and legacy.
 
If you could have dinner with anyone who would it be?
I think Jane Goodall. She came to speak at the BUC last year and her talk fascinated me. It would be very interesting to personally hear her experiences of being a woman in science. She has devoted her whole life to science but also seamlessly integrated her life with service. I’d love to hear about her work with nonprofit groups and the environment.