Immigrating to Milwaukee from Pakistan when he was 6-years old, Siddique Akram is a first generation college student, and he will be graduating this May with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and History. As a student at UW, he has served as the President of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), volunteered at Meriter Hospital, tutored fellow undergrads in biology, and conducted laboratory research with the UW-Madison School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery and Medicine, as well as with Northwestern University’s summer CURE program.
“Going to college and performing to the best of my ability has been a huge accomplishment. Being president of MSA and the things we were able to accomplish this year definitely contributes to that sense of satisfaction,” says Siddique.
This past fall, MSA’s new event Understanding Islamophobia in America featured panelists across different religious and academic backgrounds and had over 300 participants, making it the organization’s most well attended event. During his time as president, Siddique’s leadership helped the organization start a Freshmen/Transfer Orientation and also establishing the Muslim Alumni Association (MAA); they will be introducing their first Muslim Alumni Weekend this May.
“My goal was to serve Muslim students by creating a stronger sense of community, and for non-Muslim students and the university at large by promoting a sense of mutual understanding by making sure the organization is as welcoming as possible through educational opportunities and open discussions,” says Siddique. “One of the benefits of MSA has been the mentorship. There have been several MSA members who have been pre-med and helped guide me through the process, and I want to play a similar role [as a mentor] for freshman and sophomore students.”
Siddique has grown a lot as a leader. He started his involvement with MSA as a general body member, then later contributing to religious discussion events, becoming Event Coordinator on the executive board, and finally, elected to President.
“Becoming president has been a transformative experience for me. I was given a huge say in determining the course our organization would take this year, I was able to determine the vision for the year, gained a lot of public speaking experience, and collaborated with a lot of other groups.”
For emerging leaders, Siddique’s advice is to focus on the larger goal. “Everyone is part of the same team regardless of position, so it doesn’t matter who gets the credit, just as long as the end result is something that’s really good. Focusing on the larger picture instead of the details helps make the organization and the UW community better.”
His faith in Islam encourages him to commit himself to others, and he has done so not only through his leadership and involvement, but also through his career aspirations. Siddique plans on becoming a doctor as a means of helping others.
“The impact you can make on someone’s life through becoming a physician is profound. I can’t think of a better way to give back to the community,” he says. “Disease affects people across socioeconomics and culture…everyone experiences health problems at some point or another.”
After graduation, he will be interning at the Cardiopulmonary Research and Science Technology Institute (CRSTI) in Dallas, Texas where he will be doing research and shadowing physicians as he applies to medical school.
Check out MSA’s 2013 Islam Appreciation Month Events: Muslim Students Association (MSA)’s Islam Appreciation Month promotes dialogue between people of all faiths highlights the vast amount of diversity in the American Muslim experience.
- Fast-a-thon with Mo Sabri, Saturday, April 27, 6:45pm Ogg Hall
- Who Speaks for Islam: What a Billion Muslims Actually Think with Dalia Mogahed, Tuesday, May 7, 6pm, Education L196