Published on Feb. 22, 2022
As the 2022 Brazeal interviews finish up, let’s get to know the 2021 recipient!
Mariam Morafa, a Memphis native, is the 2021 Brazeal Scholar. Morafa is pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering. Coming from a very STEM-focused environment, her family has served as her “hugest inspiration.”
“[My family] became such a strong sense of representation in STEM,” Morafa says. Morafa’s father is a doctor, and all her siblings have pursued STEM-related fields. “My family also has a history of sickle cell. I want to learn more about the disease.”
“I want to become a researcher,” Morafa says. “I want to have a place for representation in a largely white space.”
Morafa is in hot pursuit of that goal. She participates in the National Society of Black Engineers and is involved in a lab that is seeking to revolutionize influenza drug delivery. Morafa greatly appreciates having research opportunities as a freshman.
“Mizzou has a crazy amount of resources,” Morafa says. “It has exceeded my expectations. I’ve learned a lot about myself. Seeing what the future could be like was really nice.”
Besides her biomedical interests, Morafa also has a passion for music. She grew up playing double bass and is particularly fascinated by musical theory. “When I listen to music, I listen to the instrumentation first and how they combine.”
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but Morafa has had some help along the way.
“Through [the Center for Academic Success & Excellence], Dr. Thorn has solidified my place at Mizzou. Lots of academic and professional resources showed that I could find a study community here,” Morafa says. “I didn’t realize how big a shock college could be.”
Morafa is close with her family. After difficulties reaching out last semester, she set up weekly meetings to have a dedicated time to talk to her family.
“If I don’t talk to them on a weekly basis, I go crazy,” Morafa says, laughing. “Being the youngest, I’m always surrounded by my family and that support system. Figuring out how to connect with them and build a community here was definitely a struggle I had to overcome.”
Morafa has started building her community here and within the Brazeal Scholars.
“I’m extremely honored to be the Brazeal Scholar for this year. Being a part of the Honors College was a bit intimidating at first, but I’ve met a lot of influential people like the other Brazeal Scholars,” Morafa says. “The resources available…have helped me have a sort of confidence going into school.”
Morafa has a long way to go in her college career, but she has one piece of advice for her younger self that she is trying to implement in her daily life.
“[Give yourself] grace to make mistakes and grow from them. You don’t need to have everything figured out.”