Amazing Students

Marin Abousaud

Marin Abousaud has always wanted to make a difference in the world and is well on her way of achieving her goal of serving underserved people in the community as a pharmacist.

Hometown:

Marietta, GA

High School:

Lassiter High School

Degree objective:

Doctorate of Pharmacy (PharmD)

Expected graduation:

April 2018

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

I was fortunate enough to have attended UGA through my undergraduate career and now my professional studies. During my undergraduate years at UGA, I was heavily involved in the Muslim Student Association. During my term as the public relations chair of MSA, I helped establish the organization’s first community service committee. Due to the resounding success of the committee, MSA established a new community service executive position. As head of the community service committee, I organized volunteering opportunities at Shifa Clinic, a free health clinic in Duluth whose mission is to provide care to underserved individuals. I also played a pivotal role in planning the Helping Hand’s Fifth Annual Fundraising Dinner, where we raised over $100,000 to support the clinic’s Orphan Support Program.

When I started pharmacy school at UGA, I was eager to become involved with organizations that positively impact others. I quickly involved myself with the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, whose mission is to serve the underserved community through the profession of pharmacy. As a first-year pharmacy student, I was the SNPhA Chronic Kidney Disease co-chair and the entrepreneurship workshop planner for the 2015 SNPhA Regions I & II Conference hosted at UGA. As the CKD co-chair, I designed and created an interactive kidney model. This model displayed the difference between a functional kidney versus a non-functional kidney by using water to represent how person’s urine would normally look like and bovine albumin to represent how a person’s urine would look like if they had CKD/renal failure. Our UR-INE Trouble model was nationally recognized through SNPhA, which other chapters reproduced.

We conducted a project to measure how effective it is to use an interactive model to educate patients about CKD and presented a poster about it at the NPhA conference. As a second-year pharmacy student, I was elected as president-elect of SNPhA where I assisted committee chairs in coordinating events and contacted local outreach organizations to establish volunteering opportunities for SNPhA members. This past school year (2016-2017), I was the president of the UGA SNPhA chapter where I’ve implemented several new programs and initiatives in order to expand our service outreach in the Athens community, the largest being our Pharmsgiving Health Fair.

Held in late November, the Pharmsgiving Health Fair provided free health screenings and education to local community members at Lay Park, a community center where children from impoverished families come for after-school programs. Along with health services, we offered free food, raffles, prizes, games and more. While the event was free, we encouraged attendees to bring canned goods for the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, where we were able to collect more than 71 pounds of food for underserved families to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Our mission was to provide a well-rounded health fair with various health topics, several health screenings, and administration of flu shots to the underserved community while demonstrating the capabilities of pharmacists in any setting. Over 100 people attended the event and benefited from our outpatient health fair, which was astounding especially since this was our first annual event.

In addition to my involvement in SNPhA, I was Phi Delta Chi’s professional service co-chair in fall 2015. As PDC service chair, I coordinated and organized PDC’s annual 5K benefiting St. Jude’s Research Hospital where we raised over $2,800, packaged and distributed food to underserved individuals and families, and provided over the counter and immunization facts to seniors residing in an Athens-area assisted living home.

In respect to my academic achievement, I have been in the UGA Honors Program since my undergraduate studies and have consistently received either dean’s list or Presidential Scholar each semester of pharmacy school. Due to my leadership and efforts to give back to the community, I was nominated by my faculty, peers and staff to receive the Lead Dawg Award in 2015 and Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges in 2016. Additionally, I was selected to be a part of the Leadership UGA Cohort in 2015-2016, where I was given the opportunity to interact with prominent community leaders.

In spring 2017, I was selected to be a part of the UGA Blue Key National Honor Society and received the UGA Rotary Deans’ Service Award. I also was the recipient of the I.Z. Harris Award, which is given to an outstanding pharmacy junior determined by nominations from students in the third-year class. This past July at the SNPhA National Conference, I was very humbled to receive the coveted J.B. Hills Chapter President of the Year Award, which recognizes extraordinary leadership among 93 chapters. In addition, I was presented with the Rite Aid Community Leader of the Year Award, which honors an SNPhA member who exhibits leadership on campus as well as within the community and who serves the underserved community and cultivates diversity in the profession.

The scholarships I was awarded throughout my collegiate career include HOPE, Reagan Roland Lykins Memorial Scholarship, Fred M. Peterson MD Student Scholarship, Walgreens Diversity Scholarship, Emory Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship, Brad G. and Beth B. Phillips Student Development Scholarship, CVS Business and Pharmacy Scholarship, the Kroger Endowed Scholarship, which I received at the 2016 SNPhA National Conference, and the Rite Aid Endowed Scholarship at the 2017 SNPhA National conference.

None of this would have been possible without the opportunities and resources the University of Georgia has provided me throughout the years. I’m so thankful to attend a university where it’s possible for students like myself to flourish and succeed. UGA has allowed me to develop tremendously as a leader, individual and person and I will never forget everything it has provided me to get to where I am today.

Current Employment:

I’m currently a pharmacy intern at Kroger pharmacy.

Family Ties to UGA:

My sister went to UGA for undergrad and I’m a Double Dawg!

I chose to attend UGA because…

When I was a junior in high school and my sister was a freshman at UGA, she would always rave about how amazing UGA was and how much she was enjoying it. I visited her a few times to check it out for myself and I fell in love with UGA and the city of Athens instantly. How could you not fall in love after seeing our beautiful campus and eating at all of the delicious restaurants? I also knew that I wanted to pursue pharmacy and UGA has an outstanding pharmacy program so it was a win-win situation.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

… Snellabrate, roam around North Campus (especially Herty fountain), play IM soccer, work out at Ramsey, and attend Dawgs after Dark and all the different sporting events. After classes, I used to enjoy walking around campus to admire the beauty and nature around me. It’s nice to disconnect yourself from all of the commotion in your life and just sit in Myers Quad or a bench and reflect. There’s something so peaceful and soothing about it.

When I have free time, I like…

On the off chance that I have some free time, I love to find and try new restaurants. I’m a majorrrr foodie, so I enjoy tasting different cuisines and dishes. I also love spending time with friends and family, watching and singing along to Disney movies because let’s be real — you’re never too old for Disney, playing card games and board games, catching up on my Netflix shows, cooking new recipes, and shopping (some may go far to say I’m a shopaholic … but I digress).

The craziest thing I've done is…

When I was in fourth grade, a bunch of my cousins visited us in Marietta over the summer and we were all riding our bikes outside. At the time, most of my cousins were older and were in middle school and high school. They all thought they were so cool riding around my neighborhood, conquering the very steep hills and turns. I wanted to be a part of all of the fun, but when I asked them if I could join, they all laughed and said that I couldn’t handle it. Being the tough person I am, I wasn’t about to let my cousins tell me I couldn’t do something. So I hopped on my Barbie bike with my teal and red helmet and slowly started approaching one of the biggest, intimidating hills in my neighborhood. I pushed off of the road and started biking down the hill and before I knew it, the bike was speeding way too fast and I was unable to control it. I tried to slow it down by pressing my feet against the concrete, but that just made matters worse and caused me to swerve vigorously. In an instant, I was all tangled up in my bike and crashed full force onto the hot road. I was in excruciating pain trying to get myself untangled and then I hear a car approaching around the corner. It was a huge, white minivan. Terrified, I begin scrambling and screaming for help. Luckily one of my neighbors was gardening at the time and stopped the van just before it reached me. I can laugh about it now, but I definitely learned my lesson and started being more cautious. Thank goodness for helmets.

My favorite place to study is…

I would have to say either my house or the second floor of the MLC where the barrier whiteboards are. My pharmacy friends and I basically lived in that MLC area since we were always studying for exams. It’s too easy to get too comfortable at your house, snuggle up in your bed to take an hour long nap, and find yourself waking up five hours later.

My favorite professor is…

This is a tough question to be honest. I’ve been very fortunate to have some of the best professors and mentors throughout my undergraduate and pharmacy career here at UGA. If I had to pick one though, I would have to say Dr. Alan Wolfgang. He was always so devoted to seeing me and every pharmacy student do well and succeed. He constantly believed in me and encouraged me to dream big and aim for the stars. He has heavily influenced the person I am today and I am so appreciative for everything he has done for me. I would also like to acknowledge other wonderful professors as well such as Dr. Seagraves, Dr. Elder, Dr. Hill-Silcott, Dr. Phillips, Ustadh Yassin, and many more.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

I would have to say my family. I’m very close to my family and we’re all currently located in different areas around the country. I miss and cherish all of the time we spend together, even it’s only for a short period of time. We always enjoy each other’s company whether it’s watching Disney movies, barbecuing, singing karaoke (we’re not any good at it but we try), engaging in philosophical discussions, playing an intense game of Rumino, Shkuba (two Libyan card games we always play) or Spongebob Monopoly (and yes this is the best version), or watching cowboy movies (my dad’s favorite). We also love watching and playing soccer together since we’re huge soccer fans. It’s enjoyable to partake in some competitive banter when our favorite teams play against one another. I consider my family to be the very best, so why spend an afternoon with anyone else?

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… learn how to dance like SYTYCD level of dancing. Or be a professional soccer player. Or sing … singing would be nice.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

… open up my own free health clinic. Through my volunteer work with the SNPhA, I saw how much our free health care services and disease state education impacted the underserved community in Athens. My vision for the clinic would include four components: a pharmacy, a community center, disease state/medication courses, and a garden. In addition to physician visits, the pharmacy component will allow us to make medications more readily available for underserved individuals. Medications can be very costly, so it’s important they receive through the clinic to ensure patients are receiving the medications they need and are compliant with them. Another component to the clinic would be a community center. There are several children and adults in the community who involve themselves in harmful activities due to the lack of resources around them. My hope would be that by attaching a community center to the clinic, more children and adults will be inclined to working out and living healthier lifestyles. Additionally, I would like to increase health literacy through educational courses, so patients understand the effects of their life choices. Due to the high costs of healthy foods, I would like to have a free garden where the community members come together to nurture and pick vegetables and fruits to encourage healthy eating.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?

My passion is to serve the underserved community through the profession of pharmacy. Why you may ask? I have always wanted to make a difference in the world. As a pharmacist, I know I can make that difference. My urge to help those in need is heavily influenced by my background. Both of my parents were born and raised in Libya, and most of my family still lives there. By frequently visiting Libya, I became aware of the everyday realities that underdeveloped countries face. Witnessing my family members suffer due to insufficient and ineffective medicine in a Libyan hospital cemented my passion and motivation to become a pharmacist and serve those less fortunate.

It really hit home for me when my brother endured a nearly fatal injury in Libya and did not receive even the most basic pain medication. Due to my mother’s pharmacy background, she was able to collaborate with the physicians to ensure my brother was given the necessary treatment regimens. Seeing how my mother’s pharmaceutical knowledge saved my brother’s life demonstrated the crucial role a pharmacist plays in the health care field. It is our responsibility to always look out for our patient’s best interest and do everything in our power to help them with their health. I knew that, by pursuing a career in pharmacy, every day would be a rewarding experience and that I too could save someone’s life the way my mother did with my brother. Thankfully, I’m in my last year of pharmacy school and am currently on my rotations. In just a few short months, I will hopefully be a licensed pharmacist practicing in a hospital working with indigent populations and making a difference in someone’s life.

After graduation, I plan to…

… pursue a pharmacy residency program in order to become a clinical pharmacy specialist. My dream would be to work at a hospital that provides health care services to indigent populations. It would be the best of both worlds since I would like to give back to those in need through the pharmacy profession.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

I will always remember the time my sister and I played on the UGA women’s club soccer team together, and we ended up winning the regional tournament for the first time in UGA women’s club soccer history. The odds were stacked completely against us: several of our players were injured or unable to attend the tournament and we were placed in a competitive bracket with the reigning regional champions. It was such a sweet memory to win the tournament’s offensive MVP award and the trophy with my sister and my teammates at the time. We fought hard through six intense games and ended up winning due to our hard work, passion, a lot of luck and prayers, and an endless supply of Gatorade energy drinks, bananas and granola bars. For any of you who have not tried those Gatorade energy packs, you’ll understand how desperate our situation was if we were chugging them before and after each game.

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