Science, Politics and Pakistan
Zujaja Tauqeer, a senior at Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College, is one of only two students from New York State to receive a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship in the fall of 2011. The Rhodes, first awarded in 1902, is considered the premiere academic award in the world. It covers all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
Tauqeer, who fled Pakistan with her parents to escape persecution, will study for a master’s degree in the history of medicine, participates in Brooklyn Colleges’ combined B.A-M.D. program with the New York State Downstate College of Medicine. For her Rhodes study, she plans to pursue an M. Phil. in the history of medicine, concentrating on the relationship between state and science in her native Pakistan. Her parents, both physicians, sought asylum in the United States after her father was arrested and vandals destroyed her parents’ free, rural clinic because they belong to the Ahmadi sect of Islam.
She said the scholarship “will give me invaluable training as an historian in order to formulate national and international public health policies attuned to the historical context of Pakistan and other developing countries in the Islamic world.”
She has done research in the neuroscience of autism and has written about radicalization in Pakistan. She lives in Staten Island and is a history major in a combined degree program for a medical degree at the New York Downstate College of Medicine.
In Pakistan, both of Tauqeer’s parents were doctors who traveled to remote villages to provide free medical care. The family received political asylum in the United States after her father was arrested and her parents’ clinic destroyed by vandals because they are Ahmadis, an Islamic sect.
“Zujaja is a remarkable woman — an outstanding scholar and with a demonstrated commitment to using that scholarship for the benefit of others,” said Dean Ann Kirschner, University Dean of Macaulay Honors College of The City University of New York. “She has achieved more in her two decades than most of us will in a lifetime — I am extremely proud of our second Rhodes Scholar!”
President Karen L. Gould of Brooklyn College said, “Brooklyn College’s third Rhodes Scholar, Zujaja Tauqeer, embodies our students’ exemplary academic strengths and character. Her strong intellect, her work as an emergency medical worker and a volunteer at local neighborhood health clinics, as well as her deep commitment to clinical research are the attributes that have set her apart as an outstanding scholar and citizen. I am sure I speak for everyone on campus when I say that we are all extremely proud of her accomplishments.”
Tauqeer is the seventh City University student to win a Rhodes. The others are: David L.V. Bauer, Macaulay Honors College/City College, 2009; Lev A. Sviridov, City College, 2005; Eugene Shenderov, Brooklyn College, 2005; Lisette Nieves, Brooklyn College, 1992; Raymond Paretzky, Queens College, 1983; and Robert T. Molloy, City College, 1939.