In 2020, when an explosion in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, left 217 dead and thousands injured, Maya Khazem flew out to volunteer and prepare holiday meals for those affected by the blast.
At 18, Khazem graduated summa cum laude from Florida Atlantic University with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences (pre-medical).
She walked the sidewalks of the FAU for many years. She attended Karen Slattery Preschool, AD Henderson, and FAU High School.
“I am very involved on campus and grateful for all the opportunities FAU has given me as a hard working student to pursue a career in medicine,” Khazem said.
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On campus, she conducted geriatrics research on falls prevention at the College of Medicine, served as director of public health at the American Medical Student Association, and was the founder of Connected Through Caring, a community service that connects FAU students with seniors during the covid19 pandemic.
His two older siblings (Jad and Lore) are also FAUHS and FAU graduates. Both Jad and Maya graduated with 4.0 GPA and as National Merit Scholars, and Lore also graduated with honors. Jad and Lore have since had successful careers in law and business, respectively. These are his role models.
“As a lawyer, Jad pushes me to think critically and see things from different angles,” Khazem said. “As a businesswoman, Lore inspires me to market and advocate for myself.”
They are children of Lebanese immigrants, Dr. Hassan and Rima Khazem.
“I have always grown grateful for the life I have in the land of opportunity,” Khazem said.
When she volunteered in Beirut, she spent quality time with orphans as well as the injured.
“It pained me to see so much evil and suffering when I was miles away and an ocean away,” Khazem said.
Last year, when many in-person volunteer experiences were put on hold due to the pandemic, she founded Connected Through Caring (CTC), a community service project to support isolated South Florida seniors. .
Unable to receive funding for the project, Khazem and a team of master’s students launched a GoFundMe and surpassed their goal of $1,000 in two days. With this money, they were able to buy iPads to donate to three assisted living facilities.
Any advice she would give to her fellow college students? “You are reaping the fruits of your labor, so stay determined and steadfast, and know that you are supported and loved.”
Khazem aspires to become a doctor and, through his work, hopes to “improve the lives of the underserved.”
She credits the schools on the FAU campus for the success of her and her siblings.
“I think our story reflects how FAUHS and FAU have prepared their students for incredible success in a diverse set of fields, and it’s a story that I hope will help others.”
Who is your hero?
My hero is my late grandmother, who left her parents’ home in a small village in Lebanon to pursue her studies. She then became a science teacher, and her dynamism and independence inspire me.
What is your favorite movie?
What are your hobbies?
When I’m not busy studying for exams, you can find me in the kitchen cooking! I particularly like to cook French fruit pies, tiramisu and creme brulee.
What do you do to escape or take a break?
I spend time with my baby cousins, I paint with my friends or take a walk.
If you could have dinner with anyone in the story, who would it be?
I would reserve a table for four, to chat with Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, the shining stars of the three Abrahamic religions.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Always seek knowledge and do good, but never talk about it.
What is your favorite book and why?
My favorite book is “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran. Through his poetry, Gibran guides you quickly but elegantly through the different stages of life.
What is your favorite memory?
One of my favorite memories is eating authentic pasta and ice cream with my mum during our short trip to Rome.
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