Humaira Qasimyar graduated in 2009 with a double major in Religious Studies and Biological Sciences. In May 2013 she graduated from medical school at UNMC. She is currently completing a pediatrics residency at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Qasimyar was the May 2009 convocation speaker. In her speech Dr. Qasimyar includes some of the reasons why she chose to do a major in Religious Studies:
May 8, 2009 Commencement Speech by Humaira Qasimyar
Regents, President Milliken, Chancellor Christenson, distinguished guests, faculty, family, friends, and, most importantly, my fellow graduates--welcome!
As our time at UNO draws to an end, we think of the journeys that have brought us to this point. My family immigrated to this country when I was five years old. Back then, I didn't know the language, I didn't know the people, and I certainly didn't know that this day would ever come. Yet here it is, and I am so grateful, as I am sure we all are. Grateful not only for this day but for every day we've spent at the university. My experiences at UNO have helped me to understand things I did not know about the past, about the future, about the world, and about myself.
My academic pursuits started out with a focus on the biological sciences but eventually expanded to include religious studies as well. The combination, though somewhat unconventional, proved to be a perfect fit for me. During science lectures, I marveled at the complexity of humans, and in the religion classrooms I marveled at the complexity of humanity. I learned that the worst mistakes can lead to the best results, and that not knowing is no excuse for not trying. I was encouraged not only to think outside of the box but also to question who had created the box in the first place and for what purpose. I was presented with new ideas, opportunities, and challenges that were designed to show me not what to think but how to think. And this is a skill that will serve me well as I move on to the field of medicine.
The years I spent at UNO have been rewarding personally as well as academically. I strengthened old friendships and created new ones. I learned that it takes just as much energy to be the lead actress as it does to be a member of the supporting cast. I found a diversity on campus that I had not expected and learned that open hearts outnumber closed minds. As I look to the future, I realize that the lessons I have learned both inside and outside of the classroom will help me to achieve success not only as a medical student but ultimately as a physician, and perhaps most importantly, as a person.
Graduation day has been on our minds from the first day of the first classes we attended. As exciting as it is to have gotten here at last, it is the journey that has made the destination meaningful. And what a journey it has been--one that we can all remember with pride, gratitude, and a big smile.
Thank you, and congratulations to UNO's centennial class, the class of 2009!