It’s rare to hear a professor describe a former student as having “more guts than any person I’ve ever met”, but Clemson University National Scholars Program alumna Roann Abdeladl (2021) defines rising to the challenge.
According to Michael LeMahieu, Associate Dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, Abdeladl is one of the most brilliant students he has taught and a natural leader. LeMahieu met Abdeladl through his work as a professor and mentor to students in the Clemson Honors College and National Scholars Program. He also led an independent study course taken by Abdeladl in her junior year.
Roann meets every challenge she faces with grace, brilliance, and commitment. I am grateful to have worked with her and I admire her greatly.Michael LeMahieu, Interim Associate Dean, College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities
Abdeladl – a 2021 Clemson University graduate who majored in Public Health Sciences – was recently recognized with a fellowship from Phi Kappa Phi, America’s oldest and most selective multidisciplinary collegiate honor society.
She is one of only 62 recipients nationwide to receive one of the $8,500 awards, provided to outstanding students for their first year of graduate or professional study.
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be part of an amazing community of people through this fellowship. As I worked with my professors and mentors to apply for the fellowship, I was reminded of how fortunate I am to have so many people in my corner who support me and who continue to help me discover the role that I can play in my community. I’m excited to be able to further my education with the help of PKP so that I can one day give the support that I’ve received to others.Roann Abdeladl
She was chosen for the award in recognition of her tireless work to provide safe spaces for people of color in her community, on the University’s campus and in health care settings.
Growing up in Greenville, Abdeladl has always felt strongly connected to her community and Muslim faith. In high school, she founded the state’s first chapter of Young Muslims, a national Muslim youth organization, to help give her fellow Muslim students a greater sense of community.
Her involvement shifted to advocacy and activism in college, when Abdeladl joined the Muslim Student Association on campus. She took on several leadership roles in the association while she earned her undergraduate degree, including organizing events focused on reducing Islamophobia and combatting hate crimes. She also joined the National Civic Engagement Team for Young Muslims, where she helped to mobilize the Muslim-American vote in the 2020 election.
Those achievements, combined with Abdeladl’s advocacy for renaming the University’s Honors College in 2020 and striving for more resources for students of color on campus, earned her the University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Excellence in Service in 2020. She was also a finalist for the prestigious Truman Scholarship in 2021.
Abdeladl graduated in December 2021 with her bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences. She’s now earning her M.D. at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Each chapter of Phi Kappa Phi (PKP) may nominate only one student for consideration by the national award committee and the competition for Clemson’s nomination is always exceptionally fierce, according to Robyn Curtis, Director of the Clemson University Office of Major Fellowships and Phi Kappa Phi Awards and Scholarship Officer. Curtis led the nomination process on behalf of Clemson’s PKP Chapter.
“Roann is deeply passionate about how Muslim beliefs can serve as public health barriers for observant Muslims, particularly women who may avoid care because they feel their beliefs will not be respected,” said Curtis. “I am absolutely confident that she will succeed in a career addressing health care inequities.”
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