In Their Words: Aya J. Abdul-Karim

Name: Aya J. Abdul-Karim

Department: Anthropology

What scholarship/award did you receive? The Ryan Heumann Anthropology Undergraduate Endowed Scholarship

What year are you? Third year transfer student

College: Cowell

Where do you call home? Irvine, CA

What is your field of focus? Biological Anthropology, specifically genetics, microbiota, and mummified remains.

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out? I really admire the academic/social culture here at UC Santa Cruz. I love how the university is so research oriented and how there are many opportunities for an undergraduate like me to be able to step into academia in such a welcoming environment.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz? My plan as of now is to study in Germany for my master's, eventually work my way up to a Ph.D in a more focused field in anthropology, and hopefully spend of the rest of my career conducting research in my own research lab at a prestigious university like UC Santa Cruz. 

What is one memorable moment that stands out to you as a student here? The moment that defined to me just how welcoming and friendly this school is, was in the beginning of my first quarter here at the university, at the Anthropology fall orientation. All the professors who attended the orientation (which was the majority of the department) introduced themselves personally to the students attending and explained the research that they are conducting and are interested in, and the classes that they teach in the department. I immediately felt like I could go into any of their offices and have a conversation with them about interesting topics in anthropology. It also made me feel appreciated as a student and person.

How will this scholarship/award impact your academic life/research? This award makes me feel like people believe my potential as an academic/student. It shows me that the Anthropology department supports my dreams and goals for my future and allows me to continue on the path of science with confidence. I am so thankful for the award and will continue with enthusiasm and joy in studying anthropology. Thank you Traver family and UCSC Anthropology department!

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