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College of Arts and Sciences

Shahzaib Saleem: ‘I have become more well-rounded as an individual and more informed about different fields of study and different perspectives’

May 1, 2019

Shahzaib Saleem

Biological Sciences & Chemistry & Near Eastern Studies

Elmont, NY 

What is your main extracurricular activity--why is it important to you?

Science Olympiad at Cornell. This club is my lifeblood. It allows me to utilize my passion for science and give back to the next generation of STEM students. Working with people who have similar love for STEM and putting on tournaments is something I could do for the rest of my life.

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise? 

Being able to balance all the things I am involved in on campus, especially during junior year. I did well in all my classes, served as co-president of Science Olympiad at Cornell, and became active in MECA, the Muslim organization on campus. I was also a TA for genetics and a member of the cricket club at Cornell. All of this has continued into senior year; I am a triple major, still an active E-Board member on Science Olympiad, senior TA for Genetics, cricket enthusiast, and a "religious leader" on campus. Being able to make time for, and excel in, all of them has been something I am really grateful for.

How have you changed since you first arrived at Cornell? What have you discovered about yourself?

I have become more well-rounded as an individual and more informed about different fields of study and different perspectives. I have learned that saying "I don't know" is a perfectly acceptable response to a question, and that it only fuels my desire to learn more. I have become more self-aware, knowing when I am being too idealistic, overworked, etc. I have discovered that I have interests beyond STEM and medicine, which has let me to be involved in events and organizations on campus that I did not think I would be when I first arrived.