A Growing Perspective

Rutgers student Syed Abbas has traveled from a childhood home in Karachi, Pakistan, to a new home in New Jersey and to Ibadan, Nigeria, and his educational journey is still unfolding.

A New Home

Immigrating with his family to the United States in June 2005, Syed arrived, at age 18, with an eye toward attending Rutgers University, where his cousins were studying.

After a year of acclimation—working in a ShopRite, learning how to drive, settling into New Jersey, and putting down roots—he applied to Rutgers and was accepted.

Exploring Interests

Once here, Syed, affiliated with the University College Community at Rutgers–New Brunswick, jumped into pursuing his interest in plants, an interest nurtured in a childhood home filled with pots of houseplants and herbs and a yard of fruit trees.

Since coming to the university, Syed has also developed a new passion: psychology.  "I love exploring the approaches to looking at the mind. You can go in many different directions," he says. While continuing plant studies, he has decided on a psychology major.

"Here in the United States, at Rutgers, there is flexibility to choose your major, and there are lots of options for pursuing your interests," he says, "The result can be a cross fertilization that creates something novel. I am pursuing two very different fields. And by becoming knowledgeable in these two fields, I have opportunities to be creative."

There’s a generosity here in accepting everyone and then nurturing them. It’s what makes Rutgers a great institution.

Syed Abbas, psychology major

Looking for Plants to Share

When he heard about a summer program, organized by the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, to visit Ibadan, Nigeria, to research potential vegetables for commercial development in New Jersey, Syed jumped at the chance to explore a new culture.

This past summer, he and fellow Rutgers student Nick Greene spent a month under the direction of University of Ibadan professor Victor Adetimirin (at left in first slide below) learning about Nigerian agriculture. They plan to return next summer to complete the second half of their internship.