Five Questions with...Mustafa Abdullah ('16 A.B.)


Mustafa Abdullah (’16 A.B.) chose UM-Dearborn for the close-knit college experience where he could be active in class and get to know his professors. The recipient of a General Merit Scholarship, supported by university annual fund, he is entering the medical school in this month.

Mustafa Abdullah
Mustafa Abdullah
Mustafa Abdullah is a 2017 Difference Maker. Read more about his story at

Why did you decide to attend UM-Dearborn?

I decided to attend UM-Dearborn due to the small classroom sizes, the close-knit community and for financial reasons.

I heard UM-Dearborn's small classroom sizes made it very possible for students to take the initiative and become more active in class, but also have an opportunity to get some one-on-one time with professors, which is difficult to find at most schools. The close-knit community also made UM-Dearborn an attractive school for me, because they promote a very diverse and inclusive environment on campus. I knew this would allow me to make long-lasting relationships with not only students, but faculty as well. I live 10 minutes away from campus, which made the most financial sense for me. I was able to save money and live at home, all the while only being a short drive away from the campus.

Why did you decide to study psychology?

I have always been interested in going into medicine, but I needed to pick a major for my undergraduate studies before moving on to medical school. For me, psychology made the most sense, because it gave me an opportunity to learn about the biological structure and function of our brains, but also how that can affect the way we behave and act with others, individually,  smaller groups or in a larger social context. I wanted to gain a better understanding of the world around me and how I can be the best person I can be. Psychology allowed me to see the world from so many different perspectives.

What faculty member(s) most encouraged you in your studies? Is there one class, research activity, event or extracurricular activity that made a lasting impact?

One of the strongest selling points for why I chose UM-Dearborn was the amazing staff and faculty. Dr. Francine Dolins, Dr. Harmony Reppond, Dr. Stewart and Dr. Deborah Roundtree all had a huge impact on my undergraduate studies. Their teaching style allows for students to be comfortable enough to participate in class in deep conversations. Their passion for their work motivated me to try and be the best version of myself. They opened up a whole new world to me, from so many different angles. They are not only great teachers, but they do a great job of inspiring their students to be confident and reach for their dreams.

College is a crucial time in our lives and it's important that we have mentors along the way to not only guide us, but to motivate as well. All four of these professors deserve recognition for doing just that.

There have been several experiences I have had here that had profound impact on my life. I would say joining Phi Delta Epsilon is definitely at the top of the list for me. PhiDE is a co-ed medical fraternity that allows for pre-medical students to network with each other and with medical students and physicians. In addition to the networking, PhiDE promotes medical enrichment and community service.

I have spent hundreds of hours as a member of PhiDE on several events, such as raising money for the Children's Miracle Network, harvesting food at Forgotten Harvest and volunteering at Nursing Homes. We also hold events to further enhance our understanding of the medical field, such as suture clinics, guest speakers and MCAT prep/advice. The organization left a lasting impact on me because it allowed me to step out of my comfort zone as a student and professional and challenge myself in several different ways. Through my time on the executive board, I gained skills on how to organize meetings, events, and to lead a large group of students. All of these experiences allowed me to grow as a student, professional and a person. I hold the relationships I established with PhiDE very close to my heart.

What's next for you?

I will be starting medical school this summer at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. From there, I hope to earn my medical degree and then move on to a master’s degree in public health. I am very interested in global health and traveling to different parts of the world where healthcare injustice occurs. I plan on using the skills and experiences during my time in graduate school to improve the welfare of people locally and globally. I am excited to start the next part of my medical career. I am grateful for the opportunities presented to me by UM-Dearborn. I would not be in the position I am in today without the relationships, tools, resources and skills I obtained during my time here.

What did it mean to receive a general merit scholarship?

To receive the merit scholarship was a true blessing bestowed upon me by the University. It was just one example of how UM-Dearborn continuously strives to acknowledge and reward students trying to make a difference in and out of the classroom.

For me, I felt a great sense of gratitude and appreciation. It was an honor to have my efforts rewarded in such a fashion. This scholarship is one of the main reasons I decided to attend UM-Dearborn. It made me realize that hard work rarely goes unnoticed at an institutional level. It gave me the confidence to aim for higher and more challenging goals or milestones. Perhaps, even more importantly, the scholarship provided financial security. Due to a number of factors, my family's socioeconomic level is below the poverty line. Thankfully, the prospect of paying a big tuition bill was one less burden my family had to worry about. For that, we are forever grateful to the University.

All in all, receiving a general merit scholarship gave me an extra boost to challenge myself in several different ways. It also gave my family and I a great sense of gratitude and appreciation to UM-Dearborn and the people who represent it.

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