Alexandra Starks, Saif Farag selected as 2015-16 Outstanding Graduates
Having already crossed the stage during December commencement exercises, Alexandra Starks and Saif Farag have been selected as the Outstanding Graduates for the 2015-16 school year. Beyond Missouri Southern, both have big dreams for the future. When Starks was applying for graduate schools, she read up on the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, learning that the school is widely considered one of the best universities in the world. “It was a shoot-for-the-stars situation,” she said of applying to the school. It wasn’t long before she learned that her application had been accepted. Starks, who graduated in December with a degree in international studies, will pursue her master of science degree in global health and public policy at the prestigious university in the fall. “I haven’t been to Scotland before, so the first time will be when I move there,” says Starks. “I’m really looking forward to it.” She’s currently getting hands-on training in her field of interest as a client services intern with Amaanah Refugee Services in Houston, Texas.
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At an age when many students are preparing for their freshman year of college, 18-year-old Farag is applying for medical school after recently completing his degree in biology. He enrolled at Missouri Southern at age 15, after graduating from high school in Norcross, Ga. “It was something else,” he said of starting college at such a young age. “It was hard to get accustomed to it … I felt like I was playing catch-up. But by the time I was 17 I felt like I had the hang of it. “I appreciated how helpful the professors were and that they didn’t make a big deal out of how old I was.”
While at Missouri Southern, Farag stayed busy with Student Senate, Student Ambassadors, the Biology Club, Campus Activities Board and a number of other organizations. Farag has his eyes set on joining the inaugural class when the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences opens its medical school campus in Joplin in 2017. “Applications are opening soon,” he said. “I live here in Joplin, so I’ll find a job until I start there, hopefully, next fall.”