May Firas Abiad - Winner of 2018 Award

The 2018 Award

May Abiad was the recipient of the 2018 Usama al-Khalidi Endowed Award in a beautiful ceremony at the Green Oval in AUB on 6 June 2018.  May majored in Biology at AUB maintaining a stellar academic record with a 4.0 GPA and MCAT scores in the 98th percentile worldwide. 

During her undergraduate years May was actively engaged in research initiatives and has recently submitted two co-authored research manuscripts to academic journals. May volunteered as an undergraduate research assistant in the lab of Dr. William Kutteh, Director of Fertility Associates of Memphis center in Tennessee. She is the first author on a case control study questioning the necessity of screening for celiac disease markers in women with recurrent pregnancy loss, using previously collected data from 698 patients. May also volunteered as a student researcher in the lab of Dr. Farah Naja in the Department of Nutrition and studied the effect of the Lebanese diet on the health of mothers and their children. They wrote a paper concerning the interaction of various characteristics and their effect on recruitment and participation of pregnant women in research. Over the past year, Ms. Abiad worked with Dr. Bree Akesson (PI) and Dr. Tony Hoffman in a mixed-methods study of mobility and well-being of Syrian refugee families in various areas of Lebanon. The purpose of the project was to better understand the experiences of these families who have faced trauma related to torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and child abuse. 

Beyond the academic sphere, May has demonstrated commitment to community service initiatives. She has volunteered as an English Instructor and substitute Math teacher at the Children's Cancer Center. May was also assigned as supervisor of the Health and Services Team of the Connect Initiative, a program initiated by the Kayani foundation that implements Saturday activities for Syrian refugee children. Each week, May was asked to design a fun health-related activity for 75 adolescent girls of different ages at the Malala II school. 

May is also skilled as an artist, a writer and a pianist. Using art as a form of expression and solace she has produced art works using graphite, charcoal, pastel, watercolor, acrylic, and oil. Her short story titled Shattered Visages, draws from her experiences while teaching Syrian refugee girls at the Malala II girls school and her research experience interviewing refugee families. It was published in the literary journal, Rusted Radishes. May started learning piano at the age of 8, and her love for it has only grown since. 

According to the Biology Department “Although theDepartment often has outstanding individuals among its student body, May stands out even among all those wonderful people. If I were to say just one sentence about her, it would be: ‘We are honored and proud as faculty members to have known her, taught her and learned from her’.”