LUMS alumnus, Usama Javed Mirza, BS 2013 from the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering (SBASSE), was the Class Speaker at the Teacher’s College, Columbia University convocation ceremony on Monday, May 15, 2017.
Graduating with a Master of Education (MEd) in Curriculum and Teaching, Mirza shares that he has always been passionate about education. As a Physics major at LUMS, his first venture into the world of educational training was when he joined the LUMS Emergency Medical Services (EMS) department, and became a first responder on campus.
“The experience made me realise how much meaning I find in helping others, and when I became the head of department for Training & Development in my senior year, I fell in love with teaching and designing curriculum,” he says.
After graduating from LUMS, Mirza started teaching high school level Math and Physics at a school in Islamabad. Realising that he wanted to follow his love for education further, he pursued a graduate degree at Columbia University in 2015 on a Fulbright Scholarship. While studying there, Mirza also underwent higher training in pre-hospital care in New York, and is now a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
He credits much of his success to the “incredible and formational” experience he had at LUMS, and says that it is what ultimately set him on the path to where he is today. “While at Columbia, I truly came to appreciate just how rigorous LUMS education is, and how it prepares you for what is required at top-notch graduate schools,” says Mirza.
On describing how it feels to have been selected as the convocation speaker by the Teacher’s College community, Mirza says he is 'deeply humbled and moved.'
“I have realised how my character formation and education at LUMS was instrumental to leading to this moment,” he says.
Having completed his two-year degree with merit, Mirza will be returning to Pakistan next month with aspiring goals. He plans to launch a first aid educational organisation, which he is cofounding with another LUMS EMS alumnus. This organisation will train communities in far-flung areas, where ambulances can take up to 2 hours to reach, and help them set up provisional emergency response systems.
Mirza says this vision is close to his heart “because of the life-changing, meaningful experiences” he had at LUMS, and he is very excited to return home and get started.