Majd Faraj has spent long hours in the lab studying a topic that would send many people in the opposite direction: spiders. Specifically, he and his “lab family” (as he affectionately refers to the research team) study spider sexual behavior. And by many indications, they’re doing a stellar job of it: They recently presented their work at conferences of both the American Arachnological Society and the Animal Behavior Society. Faraj himself even landed a Distinguished Research Award for Biology and the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience fellowship to pursue his research.
Faraj said the comradery he’s felt in the lab has been a priceless experience — so much so that he’s now helping others connect with similar opportunities. Seeing that there was a particular need to help transfer students (like him) learn about research on campus, he started a student group — Student Organization of Academic Research — that helps facilitate connections between students and researchers.
And those, we should note, are just a few highlights from his research life. Faraj also has given back to his community in a number of other ways — including working as a supplemental instructor for organic chemistry courses, helping other pre-med students prepare for their MCAT exams and volunteering with the Disaster Action Team of the American Red Cross. There, he helped several Detroit families cope financially and emotionally after losing their homes and belongings to fires.
Faraj takes the next big step in his journey this summer when he starts medical school.
“My main mission is to mitigate human suffering and I believe that transcends borders,” he said. “One of the many ways that I believe I can be effective in achieving such a goal is through being a physician. However, I strongly believe that I will maintain my research interests. In such a way, I hope to be able to create a lasting impact in the field of medicine and the lives of my patients.”