Striving for the Highest Potential

By Deserae E. del Campo

Striving for the Highest Potential

By Deserae E. del Campo
Ambitious and determined and active in campus organizations, medical school is on the horizon for Rowanne Ali.

Rowanne AliRowanne Ali is aware of her strengths and weaknesses. 

“One of my biggest strengths is my determination. Once I know that I want to do something, even if it starts with a very small idea, I will make it happen,” said Ali, a 20-year-old Egyptian-American who was born in Maryland and raised in South Florida. “At the same time, I’ve learned the importance of knowing when to say ‘no’ sometimes. I am always eager to take on new projects, endeavors, partnerships and ideas, but I’ve learned to slow down and balance ambition with vision. Everything has its time.” 

Ali, who is a recipient of the Ronald A. Hammond Scholarship (one of UM’s most selective and prestigious academic scholarship awards for high school students), a da Vinci Scholar, and a Foote Fellow, majored in Neuroscience with two minors in Chemistry and Philosophy. 

“It was my mom who insisted I apply to the University of Miami, even when I thought I’d be leaving South Florida for college. I’m so glad she insisted,” said Ali. 

While she missed her family in Davie, Fla., Ali lived on the Coral Gables campus for three years where she focused on her extracurricular activities, which included being an active member of the Muslim Students of UM’s executive board; participating in the Clinton Global Initiative University conference; co-founding W.I.N.G.S. (Women in Next-Generation Sciences), an organization that exposes disadvantaged, middle-school-aged girls to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics); and most recently, creating her own fashion and personal development Instagram page. 

“When I was a junior, my mother and three of my siblings lived in Egypt for a year, so not seeing them for so long was hard for me. Living on campus also made it difficult to see my dad and younger sister who were still at home in Davie. One of the biggest reasons I moved back home during my senior year was that I really wanted to be closer to my family and spend more time with them. It’s the best decision I made,” said Ali. 

As a member of Muslim student organization, Ali never felt apprehensive about talking to fellow students about her faith. “I love it when people ask me about my faith. It shows me that they are interested and want to learn,” she said. 

But it wasn’t always easy. 

“Last year, we had an issue during Islam Awareness Week,” said Ali. “We experienced negative comments from a fellow student on social media who held a counter-event to MSUM’s to make false claims about our faith. I didn’t let it get to me, and I found that the experience was actually a great way to educate those who were genuinely curious.” 

Ali plans to attend the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences in Washington, D.C., in the fall and she thanks her parents for their continuous support. “My parents are the most hard-working people I know,” she said. “They are both engineers, very smart and educated, and they have always been there for me, encouraging me to never give up, to be strong, and to reach for my highest potential. I’m so grateful for their love and support.”