I guess I've made a full circle at this point in my life - personality wise. I come from a Bangladeshi family where education is the most important aspect of a person's life. I was brought up with those same values, somewhere in between however I tried to stray from that thinking I could develop a truly unique identity within my family in the arts, but as fate would have it, I spent four years of my high school career in one a renowned school for science and that brought me back to my roots.

I was born in Saudi Arabia on July 19th, 1985. My childhood was not normal in a sense because unlike most kids I never had a summer vacation. During the winter I would attend school in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and during the summer I attended school In Bangladesh. The funny thing is, I never complained; it seemed normal to me. Now that I think about it however, it seems like a very interesting case. There was one point in my life, in the early 90's, I did not know the reason why, but I attended school in Bangladesh for two years straight. It was great there despite the mosquito bites and the fact that my mother was devastated when I almost failed Bengali Grammar because of my all-English background. When I came back to Jeddah, I realized something very curious, my father had plasticized and duct-taped all of the air conditioners and windows. Back then I just thought that the windows might have fallen out and my father needed to keep the windows up using some tape, but recently, through deduction, I realized that I was in Bangladesh the same time the Gulf War was taking place and the duct tape and plastic was a measure against the possible use of chemical or biological weapons by Saddam Hussein. That was a very interesting point in my life, which I did not realize till recently.

In either case, let us go back to my family. Both of my parents grew up in Bangladesh. My father was a professor of finance in Dhaka University while my mom was a lecturer of biology in Dhaka College. I have two brothers who are much older than I am. At the moment one of them is a pilot for AirTran Airways and the other is a financial consultant for Ernst & Young. One of my brothers decided to follow my father's lead in the world of finance, but I am leaning more towards my mother's specialty in the field of biological sciences.

My new life started when I moved to the United States in 1995 at the age of 8. I attended public school in Queens, NY through 8th grade, and in 9th grade I entered the prestigious Bronx High School of Science as a freshman. Although I entered a science specialized high school, I was always more interested in the fine arts and till my senior year in high school I wanted a career in interior design/architecture. My senior year however, as I was finishing up an architecture project at about five in the morning, I decided to opt myself out of that choice. I also realized at the same time that I was more interested in my AP Physics and Astronomy class than I was in any of my other classes. My science grades had always been in the high nineties throughout high school, but just for the sake of straying away from the science/math thing that my family had instilled in me, I had decided on something else earlier. However, I realized that science is the most interesting and best thing for me to do. Science is most interesting to me because everything fits like a puzzle - everything makes sense. Science is not something that one can just memorize and regurgitate, they really have to have an understanding of all the processes, and I realized that I had a talent to understand that. It appeals to me because it is so different from all the other fields.

That is how I've made a full circle in my life. I was brought up with the idea that science and math are just more important that anything else, and I never really believed that even though those were my best subjects, but then I realized by myself that the sciences are what interests me in my education and that is essentially why I have been doing well in that field. In particular, I am really interested in Astronomy, the Brain, and Biochemistry.

My major at the moment is Neuroscience. That field really fascinated me starting from high school biology and really furthered itself during the biopsychology portion of the introductory psychology class I took last semester. But my goal in life is to become a Pediatric Specialist (This is what I originally wanted to do in junior high school). I love kids more than anything else and I would really love to have a career that is dedicated to healing children and making their quality of life better. I know it will be hard to get into a medical school and I find myself worrying about that a lot, but I know that if I keep up how I have been recently, I can make it. I also have a very big interest in my culture - that of the Indian Subcontinent - and I have decided to make this interest into my minor here at Stony Brook. I also feel that skills in the Spanish language is also very important to have because of the rising hispanic population, therefore I hope to be learning a lot of Spanish during my time at Stony Brook University.

My other passion besides my education is dance, in particular Indian Classical Dance. I have been training under Guru Anil Kumar in the art of Kuchipudi which is a South Indian form of classical dance. This form of dance combines the uses of rhythmic movements, acting, and grace; in essence it is a form of dance-drama. I have been training for three years and now I help my guru in instructing the children under the age of 7. Soon, I hope to learn other forms of Indian Classical dances such as Kathak, Bharat Natyam, and Odissi.

Mehruba Anwar
February 2004