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Hussam Ibrahim
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Hussam Ibrahim

Graduation year: 2017

Majors: Physics and applied mathematics

Activities: Beta Omega Sigma fraternity, club soccer, Phi Beta Kappa

Internships: Summer internship in Lebanon at the American University of Beirut; Texas Medical Center Summer Internship Program; and on-campus research assistant with Dr. James Van Howe 

Post-grad plans: Pursue a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Iowa State University

Why Augustana?

I heard it was a great liberal arts institution to major in physics/engineering physics, and I also liked the interaction between students and faculty members inside and outside the classroom. 

Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?

I still have the same goal, which is to become an engineer. I always had in mind that I wanted to get my graduate degree in electrical engineering, and Augustana has helped me develop a lot. The classes offered, as well as the interaction with the faculty members, were really a big push! 

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I owe it all to the faculty members here, as well as my family. Faculty members are understanding, especially with international students. Most of them are aware of what happens outside the scope of the United States, and they try their best to provide comfort and a ‘home away from home.’ I thank my family as well because they are the people who have faith in me, and support me through thick and thin. 

A peak experience?

In the summer following my junior year, I was part of Augustana’s Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program in Houston. Down there, I was working with a faculty member from Rice who graduated from Cambridge, MIT and Stanford. Pretty cool, eh? I learned a lot during my time there, and I made a lot of friendships. Most importantly, I was able to impress the ‘Big Boys’ with my liberal arts education.

What surprised you?

I learned how to reach my potential whether it's physically or mentally. I think success at Augustana depended on a lot of patience, passion and motivation. 

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used Augie Choice in the summer following my sophomore year to stay on campus and work with Dr. Van Howe in his research lab. 

What will you miss the most?

I will miss the faculty here. I learned a lot from them, and I have a lot of respect for some of them. 

Advice for the Class of 2021?

Ignore stereotypes about a major being ‘hard.’ Not risking something is a risk itself. Take advantage of everything Augustana has to offer—classes, faculty…

"What makes Hussam a marvelous scientist and student is a combination of patience, grit, confidence, honor and humility. Like many of our high-achieving students, Hussam is willing to put in as much work as it takes to accomplish problems, challenges and tasks. What is more rare is that Hussam has the confidence to try and explore on his own before immediately giving up or asking for help. He understands the honor and value of trying to accomplish something by himself. He has grit and patience every scientist needs of being willing to get 'knocked down,' get back up and try again. However, he also has the humility and self-awareness to know when and how to get the help he needs to solve a challenge."

– Dr. Jim Van Howe, associate professor, physics, and Dr. Nathan Frank, associate professor, physics

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