My 30, 2006
58, Number 31
May 30 , 2006
Akbik quietly assembled sterling service, leadership record
BY beverly clark
Through quiet leadership and a tireless dedication to making a difference, Emory College Class of 2006 graduate Feras Akbik will leave his alma mater having changed the way students experience—and will experience—the University for years to come.
First as vice president, then as president of the College Council this past year, Akbik represented the concerns of more than 6,000 undergraduates to Emory’s administration and oversaw the distribution of more than $300,000 in grants to fund student-run events. During his tenure, he helped create new campus traditions, including the Great Debate lecture series, Battle of the Dorms and Screen on the Green. Behind the scenes, he led an overhaul of College Council’s internal structure so it would run more efficiently, remain fiscally responsible and better serve the Emory community now and in the future.
“Feras is a person who cares deeply about the college experience for students here, and is truly unsung for his work and dedication,” said Karen Salisbury, director of student activities in Campus Life. “He is someone who dove in to work on the inside for positive change instead of standing on the outside and pointing out what is wrong.”
Akbik’s achievements earned him Emory’s highest student honor, the Marion Luther Brittain Award, given to a member of the graduating class in recognition of his or her service to the University. Akbik received the award (which carries a $5,000 gift) during Commencement, May 15.
The Atlanta native said he was surprised to receive the honor, and grateful for his Emory experience. “College is as much about developing as a person as it is about academics. By getting involved, you learn a lot of different life lessons that you wouldn’t learn in the classroom,” he said.
In addition to his leadership on College Council, Akbik worked closely with the Muslim Student Association (MSA). He helped to plan and oversee events that furthered campus education on Islam, including the first MSA Art Gala. His work with the association helped it achieve recognition as a three-time Organization of the Year on campus. He also represented Emory’s Muslim community on the Inter-Religious Council and at interfaith services.
Akbik planned the sixth annual “State of Race Debate,” which this year tackled an international topic for the first time. He also helped found the Kappa Sigma fraternity chapter at Emory. A double major in biology and philosophy, he has maintained a near-perfect GPA as a Goodrich C. White Scholar.
Akbik’s work to make a difference extended beyond campus—he helped teach science classes last year at an Atlanta public school as an undergraduate fellow in the PRISM (Problems and Research to Integrate Math and Science) program, an initiative to improve science education by pairing teachers with Emory students in the sciences to develop problem-based, hands-on science lessons.
He spent a summer as a volunteer with the Emory Scholars and Service program, working with at-risk youth and leading bicycle tours around Atlanta. This semester, Akbik also worked as a tutor with local public high school seniors to help prepare them for the Georgia High School Exit Exam in science. Next year, he plans to attend Washington University in St. Louis to pursue a career in medical research.