The real test of a high school education is how it plays out afterward. CAN graduates are successful, hardworking, and are making contributions in diverse fields. Here are just a few of the many paths taken by Concept Alumni.

Alumni Spotlight
(Week of Jan 4, 2016)

Hamza Shah

Hamza Shah is an Alumnus of Chicago Math and Science Academy, Class of 2011. Currently, Hamza is studying Biology at Illinois Institute of Technology.

Briefly, describe your career path.
After graduating from Chicago Math and Science Academy (CMSA), I started my Bachelor’s in Biology at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). During my third year, I was admitted to the co-terminal program with the Food Science and Nutrition department at IIT. The program gave me an opportunity to earn my Bachelor’s in Biology and Master’s in Food Science in five years. Currently I am in my 5th year due to graduate in May 2016. Along with my studies, I am currently conducting microbiological research at the Institute of Food Safety and Health, and will also be starting in a chemical analysis lab soon.
What are you passionate about in your work?
I am passionate about finding a solution, through applying the scientific knowledge I have gained studying as a student. This drives me to continually learn, apply, and elevate my already developed passion for science.
Where is your career heading?
After I complete my Master’s in Food Science, I hope to work in the food/pharmaceutical industry as research scientist.
How has your Concept Schools experience helped shape your success?
I developed my drive for excellence at CMSA. I learned being good is not enough, but rather one should always work to be the best. It is this mentality that made me into one of the best students of the Class of 2015 in the Department of Biological Science at IIT.
How are you a game changer or how are you making a positive impact in your community?
I am currently conducting microbiological research with IIT and FDA scientists. Our goal is to understand how pathogenic bacteria become attached to nuts. We hope to reduce the number of outbreaks that happen due to nut contamination, which will help avoid sickness and save lives worldwide.
What is the most amazing or interesting thing that’s happened to you since graduating?
The change/growth has been very interesting. Looking back, in a matter of four years I have experienced not only vast educational growth, but also professional growth that has made be a better learner, communicator, and a well-rounded person.
Your favorite Concept Schools memory?
I was part of CMSA as a student for seven years, and for that reason there is not just one memory that comes to mind. Rather, there is a collage of favorite memories that I have from my time as a student at CMSA; going to ACT/math camp over summer/winter breaks, taking part in the science fair, being part of the Turkish club, and many more.
How do you support and participate in the Concept Alumni?
I regularly give talks at CMSA, and recently have been providing ACT tutoring to students weekly.

Concept Alumni Network (CAN) invites suggestions for Alumni Spotlights!
Do you know a Concept Alum(s) who has:
  • An interesting job?
  • An extraordinary story to tell?
  • Made a difference in his/her community?
  • Been a role model for others?
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