2012 Scholars

Alfred Abraham

Alfred Abraham

 

Classification: Junior
Graduation Year: 2016
College: College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Major: Biochemical & Biophysical Sciences
High School: Elkins High School
Hometown: Houston, TX

About Me

I consider myself to be a simple and outgoing individual.  I enjoy playing the drums, as it provides an outlet for me to express my individuality.  I am a percussionist for my church band and a strong believer in my faith as a Christian.  I believe that through music, God’s love, power and grace can be shown to and experienced by others.  I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my nine nieces and nephews.  I also like traveling to different places around America and visiting my family in India.  My parents are my two greatest motivations and inspirations in my life.  As a first generation Indian-American, I have seen the struggles and trials that my parents have had to undergo in order to provide me with the best opportunities to thrive and become not only successful in my academic life, but also become a better human being.  My respect and honor for those values that they have instilled within me has transformed into a want to strive for the best in all that I do.

Campus and Community Involvement

I have been a volunteer at Ben Taub General Hospital since March of 2013, and am currently volunteering at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.  Since August of 2013, I have been involved with Upper Room’s ministry to the Bhutanese and Nepali refugee kids here in the Houston area.  Starting this spring, I will also be a mentor with an organization called ChangeHappens and its Project JUMP START.  This program deals with medium to high risk youth between the ages of 14-21 who have been involved in the juvenile justice system and reside in one of Houston’s high poverty, high crime areas.  I am currently a member of the American Medical Student Association.

Awards and Honors

I was fortunate enough to graduate third of five hundred and seventy students at Elkins High School.  I was also an AP Scholar with Distinction and a proud member of Elkins’ Academic Decathlon team.  During my time with the team, I was a gold medalist in Speech, Interview and Essay at the school and local level competitions.  Our team also advanced to the state competition for Academic Decathlon and competed against thirty-nine other schools. 

Study Abroad

I have been interested in global health initiatives, trying to understand the state of healthcare in deprived countries, and finding ways to fix the inadequacies of these systems in medically underserved and high-need nations.  This upcoming May, I will be traveling to Haiti with the Honors College.  The purpose of this trip is to serve the medical needs of the Haitian people and to also aid in emotional and social healing by mental health research and storytelling.  Through this trip, I hope to not only gain a sense of gratification, but also a fundamental understanding of the needs that have not been met in terms of delivering quality health care to third-world countries.  I want to use the experiences from this trip to help drive my dream of delivering health care as a practitioner one day to impoverished nations.

Research

During the summer of 2013, I was given the chance to participate in an internship at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center under the mentorship of Dr. Vidya Gopalakrishnan at the Children's Cancer Hospital.  Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s lab focused on medulloblastomas (a pediatric brain tumor) and the Repressor Element-1 Silencing Transcription factor (REST). I particularly studied the effects of a USP-7 inhibitor, HBX 41108, on the proliferation of DAOY cell lines through REST ubiquitination.

I also had the privilege of joining Dr. Jan-Ake Gustafsson’s lab at the Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling for a short time during the fall of 2013 under the mentorship of Dr. Anders Strom.  During my time in the lab, I studied the many interactions of ER-beta.  I hope to join back during the fall of 2014.

Future Endeavors

I would like to graduate with a major in Biochemistry and minors in Business Administration, Medicine and Society, and Chemistry.  I am planning to pursue an MD after my undergraduate studies.  My passion lies in service to individuals despite ethnicity, creed, color, race etc.  My experiences through volunteering and shadowing these past years have shown me what an honor it is to help people who are in need and going through difficulties when it comes to their health.  It is truly a humbling experience to know and see that doctors give their all towards helping individuals with the expectation of nothing in return.  My passions and career are thus the same.  They are intertwined.  I was given the privilege of shadowing a doctor two summers ago, and I remember one conversation in particular.  This doctor told me that money was nothing to her.  Fame, respect, honor- these were nothing to her.  At the end of the day, what mattered to her was that she was able to save a life, give a father an opportunity to see his daughter get married, give a mother a chance to see her son graduate, give a brother a chance to go to the movies with his sister.  At the end of my academic career, I also want to feel the reward and satisfaction of giving life to someone who may not have had it.