During our weekly meeting Monday, 1/6/2020, we honored Yasmine Zerrouki, our Florida Atlantic University High School 2019-20 Rotary Scholar for January.  The FAU HS Rotary Scholar of the Month is selected by the FAU HS staff in recognition of character, ethics, morality, community service, and academic achievement. 
 
After our Rotary Scholar chair Sam Khazem introduced her, Yasmine told us about her dual enrollment studies with FAU HS and FAU, introduced us to her family, reviewed her extracurricular experiences and many hours of community service activities.
 
Accompanying Yasmine were her younger brother Sami, father Abdellah, grandmother Ghada Elshami, and mother Najla. Yasmine told us that one might expect her to be in pursuit of an engineering field because both her parents are engineers; however it was her grandmother, a gynecologist, who provided her early (age 7) asperation to be a doctor. She recalls her grandmother's sage advice, "being a physician requires one to assume great responsibility. The generic phrase 'doctors help people' is true, but in a more complex manner."
 
Yasmine recalled feeling blessed to be accepted in the FAU HS program with the prospect of being allowed to "finish 3 years of college in high school for free," an important step in the very expensive pursuit of becoming a doctor.  She expects to complete enough credits for a bachelor degree in the spring concurrent with her HS graduation, but she plans to continue at FAU to earn a masters degree and perhaps be accepted in the FAU medical school program.
 
During her first year at FAU HS Yasmine experienced the very special prep program that leads to success in the concurrent university scholastic program that completes HS requirements with college credit courses. She told us she was "exposed to important methods for becoming involved in research, speaking to professors, and studying. We were even asked to make LinkedIn accounts and resumes, tasks I thought were only reserved for fancy professionals."
 
Yasmine also told us that FAU HS taught her the importance of service to community.  She told us that she was encouraged serve the community as a volunteer. Her first official volunteering activity was to tutor my peers in Advanced Placement World History and Mathematics. She said, "Taking the time to help out fellow students and friends provided me with a sense of fulfillment whenever they succeeded on their quizzes and exams. From then on, I knew that I had to start participating in other fulfilling volunteering positions." 
 
She continued serving as she "began to volunteer at the Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center on the FAU campus. I had the opportunity to closely interact with many elderly patients with different levels of dementia, as well as other neurodegenerative disorders, during each visit. At the center, my duties included catering to the specific social needs of the patients, as their levels of progression affected the activities in which they were able to participate. I also had to be aware of their dietary needs when providing them with meals every visit. Taking the time to personally get to know the patients, sometimes even using Spanish or French to speak to them, made it seem as though they had a slightly more enjoyable experience in their lives with their illnesses."
 
For an additional extra-curricular academic pursuit, Yasmine joined the Commissioner's Academic Challenge, described on their web site as "a highly academic statewide high school tournament inaugurated in 1986. The districts are placed in three divisions based on the fall FTE summary provided by the Florida Department of Education. Each team consists of six members (a maximum of four players during each of the three rounds and two alternates) and a coach. A maximum of six teams may compete in one competition round. This is not a quick response, "Trivial Pursuit" contest. Instead, it is a slower-paced tournament in which players are asked questions from the areas of language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, the fine arts, world languages (French and Spanish) physical education, health, and technology. The questions are written by educators from high schools throughout the state."
 
In her Junior year, she began to work as a Teaching Assistant for a math course at FAU. "Helping out my peers was a fulfilling experience and something I will continue to do this semester as a chemistry TA. I also took the PSAT, and because of the extensive training courses provided to us at FAU High, I received National Merit Semi-Finalist designation along with many of my peers."  Additionally, recognizing the importance of undergraduate research, she told us she was fortunate to "join a lab on campus focusing on the use of fruit fly models to look at the effectiveness of treatments for different disorders, as well as the overall study of neurological mechanisms. I still have much to learn regarding many of the techniques in the lab, but having the chance to work with such amazing equipment and impactful topics is an opportunity no other program can offer."
 
Yasmine also told us about her opportunity to speak with Colonel Anne McClain, an astronaut currently in the International Space Station, as part of a research project regarding the effects of space travel on the human body's natural clock, the circadian cycle. Concluding her story, Yasmine heaped praise on the FAU HS staff and program: "Overall, none of this could have been done without the support system I was given at FAU and FAU High, something I will always be very grateful for. The 200+ hours of volunteer work, the long list of diverse clubs I participated in, the skills to reach out to research mentors and faculty are all thanks to those who have mentored me along the way."  FAU HS Associate Director David Kelly and FAU HS Assistant Principal Christine Rick, also in attendance at the event, appreciated the praise.
 
Yasmine thanked our Rotary club for the great honor and encouragement in her career pursuit when President Susan Meister and Chair Sam Khazem presented the certificate of honor and invitation to the annual FAU HS Rotary Scholar Gala at Maggiano's May 4, 2020, 6 pm.
 
 
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