Student wins prestigious Ibn Sina Endowed Scholarship a second timeApril 3, 2012
| Rola Daher|
Of Lebanese descent, the Dearborn native earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
"It is important to me to stay close to my family," Daher said. "I was so happy to be accepted to the Wayne State University School of Medicine because it is local and also because of the reputation of the school. As an undergrad, I volunteered at Cass Clinic and was so impressed with the Wayne State medical students working there."
Daher is grateful to have received the Ibn Sina Scholarship twice. "I can't tell you how much it means to me to know that people of my own background and culture are supporting me, sort of as cheerleaders in my efforts," she said. "The $20,000 I received was so helpful. I know students who are graduating with a crushing load of debt. My debt is minimal, thanks to the Ibn Sina Scholarship."
Daher is effusive about her experience at Wayne State. "The camaraderie among the students, and with the faculty and administrative staff, is amazing," she said. "The students share study guides and help each other so readily, and we know that our instructors have a vested interest in making each of us the best we can be. Also, I have made four dear friends here who will be with me the rest of our lives."
Early in her schooling, Daher knew she wanted to concentrate on Pediatrics as her medical specialty. "People told me to keep an open mind in school because I might decide on something else," Daher said. "But I'm never so happy as when I'm helping children."
On Match Day, Daher was thrilled to learn that she will complete her residency at her first choice, Children's Hospital of Michigan in the Detroit Medical Center.
In addition to her medical studies, Daher participates in extracurricular activities. "Wayne State's chapter of the National Arab American Medical Association Student Association became dormant in my second year here," she said. "I reactivated it and served as president of the group."
Daher also served as treasurer of the Islamic Medical Student Association in her second year and then became social chair, planning events for the members.
"Having the scholarship helped to take some of the financial pressure off," Daher said. "I was able to devote energy to these associations that are so important to help students get the most from their educational experience as well as enjoy their time on campus."
The Ibn Sina Endowed Scholarship exists because of the commitment of the Arab American and Chaldean-American community to higher education. For two consecutive years in the late 1990s, a committee of prominent metropolitan Detroit Arab and Chaldean-American physicians and their families hosted gala events to benefit the Ibn Sina Endowed Scholarship. Through these events, they raised $200,000 to create and endow the scholarship.
Dr. Bashar Succar and his wife, Hoda, served as committee chairs for the fund-raising events and continue to encourage support to build the endowment.
"We were initially approached by a few medical students at Wayne State's School of Medicine about financial support," Hoda Succar said. "The Arab American and Chaldean-American community believes firmly in education. We are so proud of the educational achievements of our youth and hope to encourage the pursuit of higher education as much as possible. Medicine is a field that is particularly near to our hearts given that we have so many practicing physicians in our community."
The Ibn Sina Endowed Scholarship is named for Abu Ali al-Hussain Ibn Abdallah Ibn Sina, born in 980 A.D. near Bukhara in the region now called Uzbekistan. Ibn Sina was the most renowned physician, philosopher, encyclopedist, mathematician and astronomer of his time. His famous work, "The Canon," was his major contribution to medical science. The encyclopedia of medicine comprised more than 1 million words and brought together the entire medical knowledge of ancient and Muslim sources. It endured as the definitive medical guide for six centuries.
Ibn Sina scholarships are awarded to medical students with preference for students who have at least one parent of Arabic or Chaldean descent. Applications require a written essay demonstrating the applicant's interest in the history of Arabic and Chaldean medicine and culture.
Succar intends to work more closely with the School of Medicine to help the endowment grow. "We plan to find a more systematic way to encourage recent Wayne State alumni to give to the scholarship on an annual basis. We hope they will be inspired by the effort and embrace the cause of supporting future medical students. We want our youth to be proud of their identity and to know that their community is supporting them."
As Daher moves on to fulfill her dream of becoming a pediatrician, she feels prepared for the challenges ahead, thanks to her education at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, and the support provided by the Ibn Sina Endowed Scholarship. "Receiving the scholarship was significant to me in both money and the community support behind it. In return, I certainly hope to do my part to help other students as soon as I can."
Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution of higher education offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.
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