Student Spotlight: Madiah Ashraf

Name: Madiah Ashraf
Hometown: Stockbridge, GA
Major(s): Religion and Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology
Cultural Background: Pakistani
Class Year: candy cr2014

Tell us about yourself: I was born in a small, rural village in Punjab, Pakistan, but I soon immigrated with my family to New York City where I lived in a Brooklyn Chinatown that neighbored a Hasidic community. I then moved to Southern Georgia where I lived on a farm, attended high school while living in a metro Atlanta suburb, and I now am a junior at Emory. While constantly moving around was always fun and exciting, I really appreciate the stability of Emory. On campus, you can usually find me chilling in OMPS, grabbing supplies from the Jumpstart office, studying in the Health Sciences Library, or jogging in Lullwater. Oh, and eating. I’m always eating.


How and when did you first become interested in your field of study? I knew that I wanted to major in Religion even before attending; it was a big part of my life growing up, but I never had the opportunity to study it in a formal, academic setting and I was eager to do so.  In what seems to be an increasingly secularizing society, I think that there is a general trend towards overlooking the role and importance that religion has played and continue to play in shaping society. It has been one of the most powerful and influential forces in human history. The most violent of genocides and wars as well as the greatest achievements in human rights and social justice have both been done so in the name of religion. All in all, each of the religion classes that I have taken at Emory has pushed me to learn and explore through empathy, a critical eye, and an analytical nature.


Why did you choose Emory and what do you enjoy most about Emory? I chose Emory because it really was the perfect fit for me – the location, size, diversity, but above all, its commitment to the liberal arts education. Looking back, I am more grateful than ever that I was admitted and that financial aid worked out because I could not imagine myself having a better college experience anywhere else. My favorite thing about Emory is the incredible range of opportunities it offers to the students. Where else am I able to wake up, be an educator and agent of social change in a preschool classroom for the morning, discuss theories of religion with a renowned professor, attend a lecture about brain and behavior, run through a gorgeous trail in Lullwater, have dinner and discussion with Emory’s Interreligious Council, learn about saving lives in the Emory Emergency Medical Technician classes all, and then discuss community building with my fellow Resident Advisors in Woodruff Residential, all in one day? Emory wholeheartedly empowers students to explore, grow, and learn both academically and extracurricularly through great programs, staff, and faculty. At the end of the day, it is up to us, the students, to make the most out of all the incredible opportunities that we have been privileged enough to receive.


Why did you choose to get involved in OMPS and what do you like most about the office? I was introduced through OMPS after I attended the 2010 Crossroads 1, which is a pre-orientation retreat for incoming first-years, and it definitely has been the best decision of my college experience. Crossroads really set the tone and defined my college experience to be one of growth, self-awareness, leadership, and service. Since then, I have been involved with several other OMPS programs, and they also have challenged me in their own ways. OMPS is wholeheartedly committed to students – the staff in the office really take the time to listen and strive to provide the best support that they can for students. I love knowing that regardless of what kind of day that I have had, I can always walk into OMPS and leave feeling better!

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