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Spotlight on Student Success: Khaled Fawzy
By Lauren Hutchison, University College PACE Publications Assistant

Khaled Fawzy wasn't excited about going to college. "Before I came to OHIO, I had no interest whatsoever. I always thought that people put way too much emphasis on university when it's not really that important," Fawzy recalled. "When I went to OHIO and I actually experienced it myself ... it really got me involved in studying, academics, and being a student."

Fawzy graduated in 2009 and holds a B.S.S. in International Relations. He's currently working on Capitol Hill as a staff assistant for Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown. Fawzy credits the University College's staff and programs for his academic success.

Khaled Fawzy with Ohio Senator Sherrod BrownFawzy said he "struck gold" with his advisor, Lora Clapp. "It's very easy for you to go to your advisor and get a shtick and you're another paper in the stack, and they kind of just go through the motions," he related. "Right off the bat, I knew that wasn't it.... Lora would say all the right things to me to make me feel like I was making the right decision, but would give me the reasons why I was making the right decision as well. She has been absolutely outstanding for me. There's no way I could thank her enough for everything she's done for my career."

The B.S.S. program helped Fawzy craft a degree that suited his interests. "I thought that the B.S.S. would be the best opportunity for me to actually put together all of those classes and kind of formulate a degree that really hit the nail on the head on what I wanted to study," he said. Fawzy's B.S.S. in International Relations includes studies in political science, economics, international organization and international development.

As part of his studies, Fawzy worked for the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. "That experience brought everything together for me," he reflected. "Getting that kind of exposure on an international level, especially with an international organization, really helped me focus on what I wanted to do."

When he returned to OHIO for his senior year of study, Fawzy was sure he'd made the right academic decisions. "I got back from the internship, the first class that I took was an economic development class," he said. "We came in and started going through what we'd be covering in the course, and I remember the PowerPoint that my professor put up.... I looked at it and I kind of laughed. This was really exactly what I did at the W.H.O. It showed me how really lucky I was to be able to do a B.S.S. and get these kinds of classes that really did tie in exactly with what I wanted to study."

After graduation, Fawzy went to work in Washington, D.C. for Sen. Sherrod Brown. "It's a great experience, I'm really enjoying it," he said. Fawzy was initially intimidated at the prospect of working on Capitol Hill, but this apprehension quickly faded. "I think I got really lucky, because the people I work with are all really amazing," he explained. "Everyone has a great open-door policy where I can talk with anybody. It gives me an opportunity to establish relationships with the people that I work with." When his internship is complete, Fawzy plans on pursuing his Master's degree. "I wanted to get some experience, get some work exposure before I actually pursue the degrees so I know exactly what it is I want to do," he said.

Fawzy uses an interesting metaphor to explain his attitude towards work. "It's kind of like climbing a ladder: You know where you want to go, but you can't just look at the top the whole time," he said. "You've got to concentrate on the next step, because if you don't concentrate on the next step, it's very easy for you to miss that step and stumble. Your goals are there, they're not going anywhere, you keep them in your head, but at the same time, you've got to make sure you know the steps to get there, and you do each one of those steps the best that you can. That kind of mentality has been very important to me and has done wonders for me in my career."

For students, Fawzy has a few additional pieces of advice: "If you don't know what you're doing, which I think applies to most people, take your time. Don't pick your work, don't pick your career based on the kind of success you think it might give you. Make sure you pick something that 4 years down the line, 8 years down the line, you're going to be happy, and that it's something that you want to do," he recommends. Fawzy also stresses the importance of extra-curricular and study abroad programs. "The more you do outside of what you study, the better it's going to look for you. That experience shows that not only did you learn about your work, but you actually had experience, you're actually able to do the work."

OHIO helped Fawzy develop new perspectives on the importance of life-long education. "I'm still a student today. I graduated and I have a diploma, but I still consider myself a student," he explained. "That kind of maturation, and knowing that whether or not you're actually enrolled in school or going to classes, you have to remain a student, you have to keep wanting to learn. In every experience, there's something for you to learn from it. I think that my experience at O.U. really helped me understand that."
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