Musab Shaikh excelled at science growing up.
He always connected this interest to doctors and thought pursuing medical school would be the best choice. But when he was 16, everything changed when his father was diagnosed with leukemia.
“Wanting to better understand his condition and cancer in general, I took an online class from Johns Hopkins University about cancer biology. Learning about the molecular mechanisms, hallmarks and other factors of cancer piqued my interest in scientific research,” he said.
Because he wanted to stay close to home and help with his younger siblings, Shaikh reconsidered going away to college, as his schools of choice were too far away. Instead, he began researching community colleges and was impressed by College of DuPage, which offered a quality education, a vast number of academic programs and affordable tuition.
He first took classes in biology and chemistry and read about emerging fields such as genomics and bioinformatics. This piqued his interest in scientific research involving computer science.
Then Chemistry Professor Lubna Haque recommended Shaikh for an academic peer tutoring position, an experience that became his favorite at COD.
“I interacted with a variety of students and faculty members with different backgrounds, academic interests and goals,” he said. “I guided students in a way that enabled them to solve problems on their own or collaborate with others, while I worked with faculty to design learning plans and address student weaknesses or concerns. The confidence and leadership abilities I gained helped me grow both as a student and a person.”
In graduating with his Associate in Science degree, Shaikh was named one of COD’s outstanding graduate finalists. He is currently working on his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Benedictine University.
He considers COD an excellent choice for any student looking for a wide variety of academic programs, small class sizes and one-on-one interactions with faculty members.
COD equipped me with the tools to apply what I had learned in class to real-world situations.
“COD equipped me with the tools to apply what I had learned in class—whether it be concepts from biology or skills from writing classes—to real-world situations,” he said. “As a result, I pursued my interests in various subjects, such as cutting-edge science involving cancer therapy and artificial intelligence. Learning more about possible careers in science, taking an array of classes at COD and seeking advice from faculty members helped me to declare my major in biochemistry.
“The amazing staff at COD made the process of enrollment, degree planning and financial aid easy and straightforward. They were always willing to help me in any way they could and truly wanted me to succeed. Overall, COD provided me with the tools, resources and opportunities to achieve my goals, both academically and personally.”