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Name: Afaf S.

Hometown: Islamabad, Pakistan

Anticipated Major(s): Double Major in Computer Science and Molecular & Cellular Biology

Anticipated Minor(s): Computational Medicine

How did you discover Hopkins and why did you decide to apply ED? Initially, I was unsure of where to apply for college, but my mom pointed me in the right direction by suggesting I look for leading research institutes in the US, which then led me to Hopkins. After discovering all it has to offer, I knew in my heart this is where I wanted to be. The flexibility in the academic curriculum at Hopkins felt like a breath of fresh air, as it allows for more focus on intellectual discovery and developing innovative approaches to problem-solving using advanced research methods, which opens up endless opportunities for me and others with various interdisciplinary interests. Speaking of which, I found the student community to be highly-engaging and very helpful. Getting to know about their personal experiences provided me with great insight, and with hope that Hopkins would be the place where I would find the encouragement and inspiration I need to fulfill my dream of becoming a health data analyst.

Is there a quote or motto that inspires you? What is it and what does it mean to you? “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.”—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This quote has convinced me that it is worth walking the extra mile to find my own way, and to work hard for it by being willing to take the risks and overcoming the hardships which come with it. After all, chasing the end of the rainbow no matter how hard the task itself may be, leads the seeker to a pot of gold.

What are you most excited to do in Baltimore? I would love to explore everything the city has to offer, from going sightseeing with friends, to letting out my inner foodie. I am particularly excited to visit the Inner Harbor, then head over to Leakin Park to get closer to nature and maybe stumble upon a certain manor from the 1800’s (I mean, isn’t that cool?). Honestly, there is a long list of places that I want to visit and things I would like to try out since this will be an entirely new and diverse cultural experience for me. I enjoy a good adventure, so I am really looking forward to this one.

What do you hope to get involved in on campus? I definitely want to discover more research opportunities, specifically pertaining to my interest in clinical Health Data in the field of Mental Health. Apart from that, I will go for volunteering as I have throughout high school and hope to join numerous community service clubs. On the literary side of things, I want to write for student publications, and be a part of The Women’s Network: JHU.

What are you most excited for about college and/or coming to Hopkins? I’m really excited to meet different people from different cultural backgrounds, each with their own unique perspectives and interesting stories. We’re used to moving around a lot because of my father’s military occupation so I’ve come to appreciate being surrounded by new people and things I’ve never seen before, as I have so much to learn from them. Most importantly, I want to take this opportunity to dive into conducting my own research projects (which is something I’m REALLY passionate about), and I am also open to exploring new routes and discovering more about my own interests along the way.

What is the accomplishment you’re most proud of? (big or small!) My acceptance to Johns Hopkins!

Complete this sentence: “I would not be here on this journey to Hopkins if it weren’t for _____________ (person/place/thing/experience/etc.).” My parents. Their constant support and guidance throughout the years has made me more confident in myself and in my abilities. Having always invested in my dreams and aspirations, they have wished for me to not only succeed, but to surpass even my own expectations through learning how much I am truly capable of. I am forever grateful to them for making me the person I am today, especially my mom, who has stood by me at all times and under all odds, and has shared the same passion for my dreams as I do. Needless to say, she might have been even more excited than I was when I got accepted!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (dream big!) 10 years is a long time, and I hope to have a well-established career by the end of it. I see myself as a health data scientist/analyst working at the National Institutes for Health (NIH). Having first-hand experience with the problems faced by women in STEM, I would pass on my knowledge and experience to empower young girls who are set on the same course as I once was.