Senior Farid Farkouh was awarded a Citation for Excellence in Teaching Chemistry for the Fall 2016 semester. Farkouh has taught labs and recitations for Chemistry 109 and 110 since his sophomore year.
Farkouh said he wasn’t expecting to win the award, especially with the teaching talent the department possesses.
“The TAs are just amazing,” he said. “I was really honored.”
“Farid is a talented student and one of the most genuine teaching assistants in the general chemistry program,” Coordinator of General Chemistry Professor Jason Kautz, said. “Although Farid is sometimes quiet and unassuming, he is passionate about his job and takes pride in his students’ success.”
Farkouh came to the United States from Syria in 2008. He enrolled at Nebraska in the Fall of 2013, and he started teaching General Chemistry recitation the next year.
Farkouh acknowledged that being a teaching assistant as an undergraduate isn’t necessarily easy to do, but his advice to others is to be confident.
“Undergraduate TAs need to have faith in themselves, because they know what they are doing,” Farkouh said. “They were selected for a reason.”
It’s a strategy that helped Farkouh become an effective TA, and he hopes it will help him once he graduates.
Farkouh is looking to attend medical school next year. He spent a summer interning at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and he has applied to the medical programs at both UNMC and the University of Michigan.
The ability to explain a concept in a way that others can understand is a trait that Farkouh wants to carry with him through medical school, and he believes it’s something that will be helpful throughout his entire career. Although he is not going on to study chemistry specifically, he still sees significant value in studying the subject--not just for science majors, but for everyone.
“The methods and the concepts are always relevant,” he said. “If you think deep enough, you can apply chemistry to everyday life.”
Away from school, Farkouh enjoys trying out different types of tea at The Mill Coffee Shop, and he enjoys going on long runs. He is considering running his first half-marathon during the Lincoln Marathon in May.
Farkouh plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry in May 2017.