Southern Illinois University



Sohaib Hameed picture


March 14, 2016

Going away to college is a big investment for a student, and even their families. Time, effort and money all go into the equation, and students want to know they are being wise with their expenditures.

At SIU, faculty value relationships with their students. And that’s a big reason Sohaib Hameed says SIU has been the right decision for him.

“The thing I enjoy most about being a science student here is how easy it is to form relationships with the faculty members and professors,” said Hameed, a native of Springfield and son of Fouzia and Mohammed Hameed. “It's mostly due to how invested the professors become in their classes and students, which convinces you to take an ever greater interest because of how enjoyable the professor makes that class. And because of this enjoyment, you innately want to reach out and form a greater relationship with these professors.”

A senior in biological sciences in the College of Science, Hameed said he chose SIU mainly because of his desire to do scientific research.

“Hearing about SIU's great research programs really convinced me to choose them,” Hameed said. “Also, before coming to SIU, I met with Harvey Henson (then-assistant dean for recruitment in the College of Science) and he really convinced me that this was the right school for me because of all the opportunities that I would be exposed to.

“He wasn't wrong,” Hameed said.

Along with being a student, Hameed, who one day hopes to become a medical doctor, has taken on the additional roles of researcher and community servant while an undergraduate at SIU.

He became a Research Rookie during his first semester at SIU. Later, as a member of the University Honors Program, Hameed earned a Saluki Scholars Research Opportunity undergraduate assistantship. Also, for the past three and half years, he’s helped conduct research on skeletal muscle atrophy in the laboratory of Amber Pond, assistant professor of anatomy with the SIU School of Medicine.

He’s helped author a scientific article and worked as a resident assistant from 2013 to 2014, winning he Resident Assistant Scholar Award in 2014. He also received the Leo Kaplan Memorial Scholarship in 2014.

As community volunteer, Hameed took part in Buddy Baseball and Special Olympics. He also participated in intramural flag football and softball and was a member of the Pre-Health Profession's Association student group.

Hameed said making new friends and colleagues has been one of his most enjoyable experiences at SIU.

“Having made friends and living with three of my closest friends has made this such a memorable processes,” he said. “When I think of my friends, I think of all those long, sleepless nights filled with studying and quizzing each other, as well as those nights where we would all just binge-watch Netflix.”

Pond said she’s worked with Hameed since his freshman year, when he served as an undergraduate research assistant. Hameed, she said, has presented a poster at either the McNair Symposium or Undergraduate Research Forum each year since arriving at SIU, and has earned a co-authorship on a paper published in the European Journal of Translational Myology. He also will be a co-author on another paper they are currently writing for summer submission, which also is destined for a peer-reviewed journal.

“Our lab studies skeletal muscle physiology, specifically proteolytic pathways that contribute to atrophy,” Pond said. “(Hameed) has worked a great deal with mice, performing electro-transfer of plasmid into gastrocnemius muscles and aseptic surgeries (sciatic nerve transections),” and other procedures. “Mr. Hameed is a bright, reliable and most pleasant young man.  I expect he will continue to perform extremely well after leaving SIU, making us proud.”

Hameed said SIU’s rigorous academic standards and methods have prepared him to advance into the next stages of his career, which he hopes include attending medical school.

“Since I aspire to become physician, the College of Science has done a great job preparing me for the future,” Hameed said. “Working to be accepted into medical school, I am required to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and the College of Science has provided me with all of the classes that I could possibly need to be prepared for this test.

“Taking all those classes, some being fairly easy and some being extremely difficult, was incredible learning processes,” Hameed said. “Not only did I learn all this material about these courses and special subjects, but I also matured as a person by learning how to truly prioritize, how to work in groups, and learning that it is ok to ask others for help. These are things one would depend on in the future and I am very fortunate to have learned those things here at SIU.”