College: Brooklyn College
Close to midnight on a rainy evening in February 1993, my mother gave birth to me in a remote village in Pakistan. She named me Iqra, which means, “to read” in Arabic, a skill she valued greatly but never had the chance to fully learn. When I was two, my parents moved to Brooklyn, New York, which would be my new home for the rest of my childhood. Growing up as the eldest of five children and the only girl, I inevitably played the role of a “second mother” to my younger siblings, helping them with their schoolwork and providing them with academic advice and motivational support. Since neither of my parents finished high school, it was typically my responsibility to translate for them and to help them adjust to our new country and environment. These early experiences led to me become more independent and mature than my peers from an early age, and gave me the desire to care for others physically and mentally – especially children.
As I grew older, I became increasingly intrigued by the complexity and balance I found within the sciences. Even outside the classroom, my passion for learning led me to independently study and explore these subjects. Influenced by a desire to give back to my community, I began to develop the aspiration of pursuing a career in healthcare. I soon began seeking out experiences that exposed me to possibilities in the field—such as volunteering at a nursing home, working in a medical clinic, and participating in the Global Medical Brigades—and these experiences helped solidify my ambition to become a family physician in an underserved area. This ambition has carried me to Brooklyn College, where I am now studying pre-med with a major in Anthropology.
However, despite my determination to enter the medical field, my goals seemed unattainable at times, and I felt alone and unsupported. Nevertheless, I now know that I am not alone. The New York Needs You Fellows Program is a tremendous opportunity that will help me build a strong foundation for my future and make my goals tangible. This program gives me the chance to be completely open about my background and life situation, knowing that many others have been through the same. NYNY provides me with an overwhelming sense of belonging and encouragement, not only because of the incredible Mentor Coaches but also the motivated Fellows. I immensely cherish the opportunity to be a part of this prestigious program and know that I will walk away a better and stronger person. The NYNY program is a unique place where people with many different stories and experiences come together for one purpose: to succeed and help others succeed. And that is exactly what I intend to do.