Freshman bioengineering student makes an impact and an impression

Lina Alkarmi chose Mason for its research, faculty, and the countless career opportunities in the area. Photo provided.

Lina Alkarmi has always had a passion for healthcare and helping others. Through her non-profit, and now as a bioengineering freshman, she strives to make a difference.

Alkarmi discovered her passion for biology early on and saw the effects long-term hospitalization has on patients and families, and she searched for ways to get involved. In high school, she and a friend were looking for volunteer opportunities in healthcare, and they decided to start their own non-profit.

“When I was a sophomore in high school, I co-founded a non-profit called Princess Packages. We started by delivering handmade packages to young children suffering from terminal illnesses in local hospitals, but then we expanded, started a club at our high school, and now we deliver packages to hospitals all over the U.S.,” says Alkarmi.

Her work with the non-profit further solidified her desire to study something medical and help people and coupled with her interest in math and engineering, the bioengineering field was a perfect fit.

Alkarmi chose Mason for many reasons, but her visit to campus was the first deciding factor. “When I was applying to colleges, I knew bioengineering was what I wanted to do, but I originally had no idea what school I wanted to go to,” says Alkarmi, who is also an Honors College student.

“It was in February or March that there was an accepted students’ weekend where they invited us to tour and meet some faculty, and that’s when I started opening my eyes and realized this is where I want to go.”

A life-long Northern Virginia resident, Alkarmi says the access to opportunities in the area also appealed to her. “I like how it is close to Washington D.C., where there are a lot of places for internships and connections.”

The chance to take part in innovative research was the biggest draw for Alkarmi. “I got an email from [Department of Bioengineering Chair] Professor Buschmann who sent me some information about getting involved with research and research areas their faculty work in,” she says.

“The research areas were all so interesting. I looked through and thought, ‘wow, this is something that I could really see myself participate in.’”

Despite all her classes being online during her first semester, Alkarmi is still excited for the college experience and sees it as another learning opportunity. “I do wish it was more traditional, but I understand why. It’s important that we all social distance so we can manage the cases of COVID-19. I’m really grateful that Mason has such amazing professors who seem like they’re trying to keep us all engaged.”

Alkarmi knows there are opportunities at Mason for new and great experiences to research, learn, and make a difference, and she is eager to see what comes her way.