When Chris Wakim finished high school in Egypt six years ago, his parents took him and his brother to the United States as a graduation gift. Egypt was in the throes of the pro-democracy “Arab Spring” back then, so the family made a difficult decision. They left everything behind and remained in the USA after visiting Wakim’s aunt in New Jersey.
Wakim’s odyssey took him from Alexandria, Egypt, to Bergen Community College to Rutgers-New Brunswick, where he will graduate with a double major in microbiology and the biotechnology concentration in bioinformatics. He hopes to pursue a doctorate bioinformatics.
“Once I entered Rutgers in 2013, I felt like I need to be involved in research because it was calling me,” he said.
He worked in Professor Joachim Messing’s lab at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology and at the Center for Integrative Proteomics Research. In addition to his classes and research, Wakim, a licensed pharmacy technician, served as a member of the Rutgers University Senate and the Governing Council at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.
“It’s been quite a journey,” said Wakim, 24, who lives with his family in Somerset, New Jersey. “I knew what I wanted, so Rutgers was the only university I applied to. As I’m entering the world, what I love is there are so many opportunities. In Egypt, opportunities are limited. I want to do everything, so choosing is hard.”
Excerpted from Rutgers Today