Mason grad student enjoying a ‘remarkable’ year
October 3, 2016 / by Damian Cristodero
The past 12 months have been quite a ride for Naeem Khan.
The Pakistani native and his wife, Rabia Ikram, had their first child, a daughter, Anayah. Khan gained U.S. citizenship. And, most recently, the George Mason University master’s degree candidate received a $25,000 scholarship from agriculture company Monsanto.
“Yes,” Khan admitted, “this year has been remarkable.”
Monsanto’s Graduate Student Scholarship Program awards funding to minority students in STEM or agricultural studies who have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Of 135 applicants in 2016, 10 received scholarships.
The money will allow Khan, who is studying data analytics engineering, to graduate in the spring with no debt to George Mason.
“This scholarship is so valuable to me and my family,” he said. “I was hoping for a miracle, and it happened.”
Khan, sponsored by his grandparents in Northern Virginia, came to the United States in 2010 with what he called “the dream of achieving a world-class education.” His wife joined him in 2014.
After majoring in integrated information, science and technology at George Washington University, Khan said he extensively researched graduate programs before choosing Mason and enrolling in the Systems Engineering and Operations Research Department in the Volgenau School of Engineering.
What does he like about Mason?
“They teach you how to approach a problem,” said Khan, whose concentration is in predictive analytics. “In addition to skills and techniques, they introduce you to cutting-edge technologies new to the industry. That was the best decision I made, to join Mason.”
“He is a dedicated professional and team player,” said associate professor Paulo Cesar Costa, who gave Khan an A+ in his Decision Support Systems Engineering class. “He motivates his colleagues and has a sense of responsibility that goes above the norm.”
With his citizenship in hand and a job as an operations data analyst at a health care data analytics company, Khan plans to keep his family in the United States.
“Through my education and achievement, I wanted to show my parents and my grandparents and my wife and baby that coming to the United States would be a dream come true,” Khan said.