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Fatima Daoud '13 Harmonizes Linguistics, Biology, and Marching Band

Fatima DaoudA love of language, learning and the scientific method pulled senior Fatima Daoud into two apparently disparate majors: linguistics and biology. But she has had no trouble reconciling her enthusiasm for writing and other forms of communication – including music – with her desire to go into medicine.

“On the surface the two subjects are very different, one being a natural science, the other a social science,” says Fatima. “But they’re much the same in that it’s all about collecting data and understanding why things are the way they are.”

After taking one linguistics course to fulfill a requirement, Fatima fell in love with the subject, mainly because the professor, Richard Larson, was “awesome.” For a while she considered getting her TESOL certificate and teaching English as a second language. Then she became an EMT and volunteered with her town’s fire department. From that experience she developed a passion for health care and the health sciences, so she decided to add biology as a major.

Meanwhile, she continued to take linguistics and writing courses. One of the requirements for a course in writing the personal essay was that she contribute to a student blog in which she responded to readings and continued classroom discussions. There, Fatima’s interests in new media and multimodal communication continued to grow. She began to produce digital movies as well as write.

One of her videos (see below) goes behind the scenes of the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band, yet another facet of her life at Stony Brook. Fatima says that the fact the University had a marching band played a big role in her decision to come here. She played piccolo in her high school’s marching band and was thrilled to join the piccolo section here. “It was the icing on the cake.”

Her communication skills came into play again when she was invited to help design a lab manual for a new course, BIO 207.

“I was a TA for BIO 204 and 205, and my professor created a new, biochemistry-based introductory lab course as an alternative to BIO 205, which is more physiology-based,” Fatima explains. “My job was to create diagrams for the labs.”

At present, Fatima hopes to go into either geriatrics or neonatal surgery, but she’s holding off on a decision until she finishes medical school.





By Toby Speed; photo by John Griffin


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