|UST Student Finds Niche in International Studies|
For Sheza Hamdy, being an international studies major allows her to play to her strengths, explore her cultural ties and her personal interests.
Hamdy, who is of Egyptian descent and speaks fluent Arabic, said her passion for international affairs is further fueled by her involvement in the UST MicroCredit Program. Hamdy currently serves as vice president of public relations and fundraising for the MicroCredit Program, and the secretary for the International Studies Society.
The nonprofit, student-driven organization offers microloans to small entrepreneurs in developing nations. The average microloan is $50. By offering small lines of credit, the program encourages students to help others overcome economic challenges. The MicroCredit Program recently raised nearly $10,000 at their second annual Dum Spiro fundraiser. Hamdy helped plan and promote the event.
“In the Microcredit Program, we encourage entrepreneurship, sustainable development and effective change, and we want to empower the people who receive microcredit loans, to help their families and to help their communities,” Hamdy said. “It’s that whole concept of teach a man to fish and you can feed them for a lifetime.
“I am a firm believer that poverty is not the consequence of misallocation of finances or the mere lack of wealth, but in the lack of knowledge and opportunity,” she said. “We must shift away from the destructive misconception of poverty and begin to decipher the difference between maintenance and sustenance. The MicroCredit program has enabled me to channel compassion into positive action.”
As a Muslim student at a Catholic university, Hamdy said she appreciates the diversity on campus and how the University embraces students of all faiths.
Enrolling as a freshman at age 17, Hamdy chose to attend UST to stay close to her family who lives in Katy. One of Hamdy’s younger sisters is also considering UST among her college choices.
“I really respect St. Thomas for instilling moral values throughout the University. Whether you are Christian or not, you can carry those values into your every day actions,” she said. “Now that I have taken theology, I can speak not only from a Muslim perspective, but also I have knowledge of the Catholic perspective. It has strengthened my faith in own my religion and helped me see that we are interlinked.”
She hopes to attend graduate school to further her pursuit of international studies. From there, she says, her options are open.
“You can get into any field with an international studies degree,” she said. “I want to get a master’s in international studies focusing on sustainable development, but in the future, maybe I might want to go into law, diplomacy or economics.”