In the Spotlight: Ayah Badawy ’22, B.S., Biology
Ayah Badawy’s career goal is to become a doctor and work with underserved communities.
How does it feel to have been asked to offer the welcome at Commencement alongside your classmate Jenna Slevin?
It is an honor, above all, to be able to welcome fellow graduates and their families and guests at Commencement. Honestly, it feels a bit surreal. I hope to encapsulate some of the emotions we went through the past four years with Jenna, my peer and dear lab partner of the past four years.
What professor, classroom experience or extracurricular activity at SFC had the greatest impact on your success here?
The experience that impacted me the most is the summer of 2018, just before classes started, at Biology Bootcamp. In truth, I was horrified and intimidated by college. Thanks to my brother, Dr. Karim Badawy, an SFC alumnus who always excelled at what he did and set a seemingly impossible high bar for me, I was now going to St. Francis College, too, and had no idea if I could reach any sort of bar. Anxiety and fear shook 18-year-old me, and when I went to Biology Bootcamp after deciding I wanted to be a biology major, I came home every day crying because I thought I couldn’t do it. The material was scary, and I felt I wouldn’t be able to succeed.
But I had loving and caring professors. One of these was Dr. Alison Dell, who would go on to be my professor for several biology classes. On the last day of bootcamp, I remember being so worried about how I would tell her that I was scared to death about starting college. Would she laugh at me? Would she think less of me? No and no. Dr. Dell embraced me with warmth and assured me it would all be okay, and there was proof to show that in my performance in the bootcamp assessments. After I heard those words, it really felt like things would be better. While I was still very nervous, I went to school two days later and, what do you know, it wasn’t so bad.
Did you participate in an internship during college?
Yes! In the summer of 2019, I got accepted into the REU Summer Research Program in the psychology department at Boston College. It was such a humbling and enriching experience for me to be involved with an advanced lab, which further piqued my interest in biology and medicine. I was introduced to the best mentor and principal investigator, Dr. John Christianson, who taught me a lot and filled in the gaps I had for the research project.
What does it mean to you to have attended college in New York City?
I live in Queens, and to travel 40 minutes each way, every day, for the past four years on the N and 4/5 train was quite the experience. Prior to attending SFC, I barely visited Brooklyn and had no idea what kind of place it was. After experiencing the SFC campus in Brooklyn Heights, I can say there’s magic to the borough. When I first discovered the promenade and DUMBO area, I was amazed by the beauty of it all. I will definitely miss commuting to Brooklyn. It has some of the most amazing architecture, in my opinion, and great food spots.
What’s next for you?
I plan on attending medical school in the United States, with the intention of pursuing a meaningful career that can impact lives and help underserved communities gain better control of their health.