Like most new graduate students, Mohamed Sharif had doubts about surviving in a competitive and rigorous training program.
Sharif felt he had many obstacles to overcome — the fact he did not have any wet lab research experience, the two-year gap between earning his undergraduate degree and graduate school, and the fact he and his wife were both graduate students as well as parents of two young boys.
But those fears quickly dissipated once he became immersed in the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) program.
“I thought I was starting the doctoral program with major disadvantages, but to the contrary, I had more advantages than my classmates, thanks to the IMSD program,” he says.
Sharif was able to begin his training July 1 instead of late August, allowing him to start his first lab rotation months earlier than others and improve his laboratory skills before classes began.
He also says the program’s career development workshops and faculty and student mentorships were invaluable.
“The benefits of the IMSD program have been immense, and its tremendous focus on the many aspects of becoming a well-rounded research professional has shaped my growth in the biochemistry doctoral program,” he says.
“It allowed me to not just become a better doctoral student but also taught me to look past the educational setting provided by the university and learn what I need to do to become a better professional and independent researcher,” Sharif says.
His training in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences allows him to fulfill his passion of serving others while satisfying his own insatiable curiosity and hunger for exploring uncharted territories.
“I live by the words of Mother Teresa: ‘There is joy in transcending self in order to serve others.’ The joy that drives me to be a researcher is a simple but elegant understanding that I need to stand at the forefront of my field and contribute my part to the cosmic pool of constantly changing scientific knowledge,” Sharif says.
“The hope is that one day, what I considered a novel discovery can become common knowledge that can improve the quality of life for individuals.”