Using Science to Serve

Bilal Baig
Bilal Baig

Bilal Baig is passionate about science and service.

Baig (genetics, ’16) has spent his entire college career putting others first, from mentoring fellow students to volunteering at community healthcare centers.

Baig will have a final opportunity to make an impact on his fellow students later this month as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ (LAS) student marshal. Selected by a panel of faculty and staff, he will speak at LAS Convocation on Dec 16 as well as represent LAS at the University’s commencement ceremony on Dec 17.

"It's truly humbling to be selected as student marshal for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” Baig said. “I have had the great privilege to learn from such dedicated and caring faculty members from the college. I'm grateful for the opportunity to represent a college filled with such talented and accomplished students who I know will go on to make a positive impact in the future. "

After graduation, Baig will intern with the United States Commission for Refugees and Immigrants in Des Moines, Iowa, to assist refugees in getting access to healthcare, before attending medical school in the fall.

"I think as a physician you have the opportunity to use science directly in application to help others," Baig said.

Baig hasn't waited to start his career to serve his community. He volunteers as an EMT with the Free Clinics of Iowa and has volunteered as a mentor for Boys and Girls Club of Central Iowa, as an English teacher for United States Commitment for Refugees and Immigrants, and has worked as a tutor for Iowa State’s Academic Success Center.

"Service is one of the things that I'm passionate about as well as science," Baig said. "In my future career as a physician I want to incorporate that."

Baig also served fellow students through volunteering as a peer mentor for first semester students in the Bridging Opportunities in Leadership and Diversity (BOLD) learning community at Iowa State, designed to support and build leadership skills in multicultural students, on a college-wide scale.

"You get an opportunity to interact with them one-on-one and help them out," Baig said. "Whether they need help on the social side of things or finding out how to talk to their adviser and register for classes, you're that mentor for them."

Baig said his experience at Iowa State has prepared him for medical school, especially working with excellent faculty. As a sophomore Baig worked in a lab using new DNA sequencing techniques.

"One of the awesome things about Iowa State is that every faculty member is really encouraging and really wants to see you succeed," he said. "Especially in the genetics department, it's a little bit smaller so you get more of that one-on-one attention."

Baig has twice earned the Sui Tong Chan Fung Fund for the Promotion and Study of Genetics Highest GPA Award and was on the Dean's List all seven semesters.

"He is an extremely dedicated student in perhaps our most challenging degree program in the biological sciences at ISU," said Fredric Janzen, professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology and Bilal's academic adviser.

He has already been accepted into medical school for the fall of 2017. He hopes to continue to serve underserved communities in Iowa as a future physician.