A college student from Middle Village was one of two students from New York to have been selected as a recipient of the prestigious Marshall Scholarship, which will allow her to continue her education in England.
Faiza Masood currently majors in religion (in the special honors program) with dual minors in Arabic studies and Asian-American studies at Hunter College. The Marshall Scholarship will allow her to earn a master’s degree studying Islamic Law with an emphasis on gender studies and family law at the University of London or Oxford.
“We are immensely proud of Faiza Masood’s well-deserved achievement. This is a testament to her talent, drive and hard work, as well as to the quality of her education at Hunter College,” said James B. Milliken, chancellor of the City University of New York (CUNY). “Faiza, like so many students at Hunter and CUNY, is the children of immigrants and an example of the gifts they bring to our campuses. She is the seventh CUNY student to be awarded this great honor. Immigrants and their families have always been among our most outstanding students and they go on to make great contributions to New York. I’m sure Faiza will do the same.”
Masood is no stranger to winning scholarships and fellowships, as she has already won a summer fellowship to study Arabic in both Jordan and Morocco. And, in the fall of 2015, Masood was chosen to attend the Harvard Divinity School’s Diversity and Explorations Program.
“We are so proud of Faiza and very pleased that her hard work both in and out of the classroom is being recognized by this prestigious program,” said Jennifer J. Raab, president at Hunter College. “In Arabic, Faiza means winner, and Faiza certainly is one.”
Masood was raised in Middle Village by her parents who immigrated to the United States from Pakistan. Her father worked in a candy store for most of her life, and her mother is a homemaker. Their family is both dedicated and hardworking, and they never took a vacation in order to save for their children’s education.
Masood now wants to use what she has learned, and what she will learn in the future, to shed a new light on Islamic Law, which many people perceive as being inflexible. Through her studies, however, Masood has discovered that historically Islamic Law is nuanced and sophisticated, and wants to see it continue to evolve to reflect the current times.
“It is very much time for Islamic scholars interpreting sources to come up with new law that is appropriate for this new modern context,” she said.