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Student Profile: Sarah Razzaq

Aspiring physician Sarah Razzaq hopes to someday work with local and national government officials and policymakers to improve access to healthcare both in the United States and abroad. Apr 2, 2024

Life sciences/osteopathic medicine student Sarah Razzaq is a big believer in happy accidents, perhaps because in her spare time she recreates paintings by the late landscape artist Bob Ross, known for saying, “We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents.” Her happiest accident was taking Advanced Placement (AP) science courses in high school. Growing up, she thought she wanted to become a lawyer, but as she continued her AP schoolwork, she realized her heart belonged to medicine, not law.

After shadowing her aunt, a physician, to gain better insight into the medical world, Razzaq was sold on formally pursuing the field. During her college search, she took a particular interest in New York Tech for the variety of research opportunities available to students and for the diversity on campus. As a Muslim Pakistani American, she wanted to attend a university that embraced different cultures and had students from a variety of backgrounds with goals similar to her own.

During her freshman year, Razzaq was quick to join New York Tech’s Muslim Student Association (MSA). She enjoyed her first year with the MSA so much that she applied to become vice president. She assumed the role for the 2022–2023 school year and became the club’s president for 2023–2024, where she organizes meetings and charitable events like the MSA’s fall 2023 basketball tournament. The event hosted Adelphi University’s MSA and Students for Justice in Palestine clubs and raised $730 for the charity organization Pious Projects, which is currently working on relief efforts in Palestine.  

“Getting to know others with similar beliefs has influenced me greatly,” says Razzaq, who credits the MSA for fostering many of her current friendships and helping her learn and grow in her faith. “As a hijabi Muslim woman of color, I am aware of the multiple stereotypes and stigmas that surround my demographic in medicine. I hope, through community-based efforts and working with other organizations on and off campus, to dismantle those harmful stereotypes.”

Razzaq is also an advocate for blood cancer patients. During the first semester of her sophomore year, she lost a relative to leukemia. A researcher, educator, fundraiser, and volunteer, this relative’s passing was a significant loss for Razzaq—but she did not let grief get the best of her.

In spring 2023, Razzaq founded and became president of Hands for Leukemia, a club on the Long Island campus with 70 members committed to fundraising for blood cancer patients and research across the United States. Last April, the organization held a fundraiser that welcomed a speaker from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the night raised more than $1,000 for the nonprofit research group.

“My relative valued education so much, and I knew she wouldn’t want me to fall behind in my studies and extracurriculars,” she says. “I had this push in me to continue her legacy. I couldn’t let her and her work be forgotten, and with every event and club meeting, I carry a piece of my relative with me.”

Razzaq is currently pursuing research at the College of Osteopathic Medicine with Associate Dean and Professor Kurt Amsler, Ph.D., studying the regulation of epithelial tight junction permeability. Improper function of tight junctions, which maintain barriers and permeability in human organs, can lead to various diseases. Through her lab research, Razzaq hopes to discover the exact mechanisms of tight junctions and the pathology of diseases so that more specific medications may be created.

As a pre-med student who places emphasis on living charitably and culturally aware, Razzaq wants to give back to her community in Pakistan and make a meaningful impact on the area’s local healthcare sector. Among her intentions are improving health education and awareness, making quality medical care more accessible, and growing services catering to Pakistani women so they may have unrestricted access to medical care.

“Being on the board of multiple associations holds so much significance for me. My hard work has paid off, and I’m motivated to foster unity and diversity within the New York Tech community,” says Razzaq, who thrives in representing and advocating for Muslim students on campus. “Leading Hands for Leukemia aligns with my values as an aspiring physician and my commitment to my community. This cause goes beyond culture and religion to help individuals regardless of their identity.”

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