Neveen Mahmoud

Hometown: Aldan, PA

high school: The Agnes Irwin School

college: Stanford University

MAJOR: Psychology

Neveen “Veenie” Mahmoud was raised in a suburb of Philadelphia in a single-parent household. From day one, her mother, Dorita, did everything possible to instill the value of service to others in her -- despite not having much herself. The wide-eyed, talkative Neveen grew up with an abundance of outside support that, in conjunction with much adversity, molded her into the compassionate and trail-blazing young lady that she is today.

Hany, Neveen’s father, returned to his birthplace, Cairo, Egypt, just after her 1st birthday. Despite a multitude of chronic illnesses that forced her mother into a whirlwind of medical red tape, ever-present pain, and debt, Dorita took on the role of both mother and father in Neveen’s life. Veenie matured mentally and emotionally at an exceptionally rapid pace after realizing the gravity of her mother’s circumstances. As a girl already woven from a fabric of curiosity, honesty, and diligence, it did not take much for Neveen’s natural talents to become deliberate efforts in school and other undertakings. She realized that by achieving at a high level, the power to let her mother focus on her health as opposed to Neveen’s everyday life was in her hands. In no time, she and her mother had entered into a firm unspoken agreement of continual reciprocity dependent upon either one taking care of the other when need be.

While relatively unscathed by firsthand knowledge of the world’s horrors, aside from financial hardship, Veenie sought out a means to improve her world. Inspired by both her mother and the nightly news, she began participating in community service at a young age – including everything from sharing her musical talents at local nursing homes to serving the homeless year- round. Neveen’s experiences with her mother and teaching in an inner-city elementary school prompted an ongoing fervor over both domestic health care and educational reform. As a result, she used her summers to explore such topics outside the academic year. Neveen participated in a myriad of summer programs via the Center for Talented Youth, entailing college-level courses in topics such as Great Cases in American History, Logic, and Service Learning. The funding behind these programs came from The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation – an organization that chose Veenie as one of 49 out of over 1,200 applicants to receive a supplemental scholarship of up to $15,000 per year throughout high school. This foundation also presented Neveen with the opportunity to work on a project of choice with a Stanford Law professor over the course of her junior year. She chose to focus on the effects of the No Child Left Behind Act on Federalism in coming years. Under Professor Morrison’s direction, Veenie completed a 28-page paper and PowerPoint which was presented at Williams College the following summer.

Veenie’s work ethic and intensity in class, on the fields, and in other endeavors spoke for themselves. Her peers elected her pesident of the freshman and junior classes, VP of the sophomore class, and President of Student Government. As a four-year varsity lacrosse player, Veenie was also elected one of the team’s three captains. Her commitment to multi-culturalism and promoting tolerance also prompted classmates to elect her to the Multi-Cultural Board three times, once as vice-president of the board. In addition, the chapter of STAND (Students Taking Action Now: Darfur) that she initiated at her high school gathered an exceptionally strong following. Neveen believes in leadership as just another means to serve others. She truly strives to do just that with every position she has the honor of holding.

Neveen aspires to study Peace and Conflict Studies and eventually pursue a career in law or journalism. Either career would allow her the opportunity to speak on behalf of the downtrodden and ignored. With her mother’s extraordinary strength and support despite unfavorable financial and physical states, as an ever-present source of drive, Veenie works tirelessly towards her goals. This satisfies her hope that if she does not directly change society or the larger world, she just may at least have inspired someone who will do so.

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