Warrior's Passion for Medicine and Community Shines at Stan State
November 20, 2023

As a Stanislaus State student studying biology and pursuing a minor in chemistry, Hussein Maatouk recently found inspiration and motivation when he was awarded a First-Generation Pre-Med Scholarship. Maatouk began his studies at Stan State in fall 2020, and he is looking forward to graduation in spring 2024.

“I am hoping to go into medical school after Stan State,” he said. “Not only will this scholarship aid me financially to reach that goal, but it is also a huge motivational boost to continue on this path.” 

The scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students who are the first in their families to pursue a four-year degree and who plan to go on to medical school after earning their bachelor’s degree. Maatouk, who grew up in Lebanon, came to the United States when he was 16 years old and first attended Joseph A. Gregori High School in Modesto before enrolling at Stan State.  

He always had a passion for science and medicine and was interested in learning more about the complexity of the human body and how it functions. A passion for helping others and making a positive impact on people’s health and well-being also drives him in academic and career pursuits. 

“I can’t remember a day that I didn’t want to become a doctor,” he said.  

In Lebanon, he was involved in community volunteer opportunities so when he moved the U.S., it seemed natural to continue giving back. 

“I remember feeling nervous about everything that was changing during my journey to the United States. That was the hardest thing,” he said. 

After making the move, Maatouk said he faced numerous financial challenges and other obstacles, but he was able to overcome those difficulties through determination and resilience. One obstacle was the difficulty he had when filling out college applications. He recalled asking a counselor for help. His first few years as a college student were held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was an experience he found challenging, as did many of his peers, but his resilience carried him through.

“Receiving this important scholarship empowers me to keep working hard and focus on my career goals. It also gives me hope for the future, making me optimistic about my future profession and that I have chosen the right path.”

- Hussein Maarouk, Biology Major 

“I firmly believe these experiences have shaped me into a stronger and more determined individual,” Maatouk said. 

He says that he views each obstacle in his life as an opportunity for personal growth and a chance to further fuel his commitment to his goals. His experiences have created an appreciation for the support and opportunities he has received from the Stanislaus community.  

“I would say Stan State had a huge impact on my career choice and life. Although I planned to go to medical school before going to Stan State, I met a lot of people and professors that helped and aided me through my journey to medical school,” Maatouk said. 

He says that Stan State offered a great pre-health program that equipped him with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue his chosen career path. Stan State also gave him a lot of opportunities to be involved on campus as well as offered career and networking opportunities which helped him through his journey.  

“I am dedicated to not only achieving my dreams but also to making a positive impact on the community that has been instrumental in my development,” he said. 

He applied for the scholarship during the fall 2022 semester because it targets the same field that he is pursuing. Maatouk looked at receiving the scholarship as a sign and encouragement to continue pursuing his academic and career goals.  

He says that the scholarship will help him in becoming a doctor while also empowering his passion for his career. Maatouk found the scholarship while going through the list of scholarships on the Stan State scholarship website. He heard about the specifics from Mark Grobner, professor of biological sciences at Stan State and Pre-Health Professions advisor. 

Maatouk cites Grobner as one of the professors at Stan State who has helped him, along with Susan Mokhtari and Michael Drake who also provided him with the support he needed to achieve his goals.  

“I am someone who loves to help others and a strong believer in giving back, especially to the communities that helped me become who I am,” he said. 

One of his most memorable experiences at Stan State has been becoming a Supplemental Instruction Leader and peer tutor for the Learning Commons. For him, being able to help fellow students with chemistry courses and sharing his studying tips as well as experience has been an important way to give back.  

He is also a STEM Ambassador for Science in Our Community, an outreach program dedicated to science education and community engagement. The program provides STEM activities to educationally and economically disadvantaged students in Stanislaus County and the surrounding region. Additionally, he is a College Corps fellow through the Californians for All initiative. The program engages students across the state in solving problems in their communities which include K-12 education, climate action, and food insecurity.  

“Receiving this important scholarship empowers me to keep working hard and focusing on my career goals,” Maatouk said.