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First-year student has a passion for global health

Farhan Babur brings his experience as an ambassador and fundraiser to ASU

Portrait of student in front of city map
August 04, 2023

Editor's note: ASU News is highlighting some of its notable incoming students for fall 2023.

Farhan Babur brings a lot to Arizona State University. And the incoming first-year student plans to get a lot out of ASU as well. 

The BASIS Scottsdale graduate founded a tutoring organization that has raised thousands of dollars for the International Rescue Committee, and he interned at the Harvard Undergraduate Foreign Policy Initiative.

And the taekwondo pro packs a mean martial-arts-style punch.

Babur will be attending Barrett, The Honors College and studying biological sciences in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He hopes to explore a career in health care and get involved with global health equity — specifically health education, capacity building and epidemiology. 

Raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, Babur is the first of three siblings to attend college.

"I am the test dummy,” he jokes.

Here he talks about attending ASU this fall. 

Question: When you think about embarking on a new life at ASU, what concerns run through your mind?

Answer: I am excited, but I don’t know what to expect. There is a huge sense of mystery, because I am moving out into the unknown. 

It will be the first time I will be living on my own. It will be an adjustment balancing academics, work, making new friends and adjusting to college. I’m unsure about how that is going to happen. 

Q: What made you decide to come to ASU?

A: I come from a pretty small school, so the size of ASU is something that has always amazed me. However, that size can also be a bit daunting, so Barrett’s smaller community provides a place to fall back on. That ... combined with the fact that I have been on campus countless times already made ASU incredibly inviting.

Q: You will be studying neurobiology and physiology at ASU. What drew you to these subjects?

A: The brain and nervous system have always fascinated me. Part of the reason for that fascination is the fact that we still have so much to learn. It is in many ways the new frontier of biology, and so when I chose a major I jumped at the chance to study this system formally. However, I also have an immense interest in microbiology and global health, and I hope to pursue these through minors and electives.

Q: You already have an impressive resume with countless accomplishments under your belt. What do you plan to add to that in the next four years?

A: I wouldn’t say my plans are super lofty, but I have a couple of short term goals. I want to work in a lab, ideally working in microbiology or neurobiology. Additionally, I want to be a part of volunteering initiatives where I can make a direct impact, like hospice care for example. I am also hoping to get involved in student government. Ultimately, I’m excited to make new friends and see where the college experience takes me.

Q: What other hobbies or skills are you bringing to the ASU community?

A: Taekwondo had a huge place in my life growing up and I hope to continue this at ASU. 

Additionally, I love to write fiction, particularly short stories, and that is another thing I intend to keep doing at ASU.

Q: What inspires you?

A: My greatest inspiration comes from the people I grew up with. I was able to mature around friends who were incredibly driven, funny and kind; and work with physicians and civic leaders who aimed to make an actual impact in their fields. 

These experiences continue to inspire me to keep shooting for the stars. I am also amazed by the natural world — from the complexity of viruses and their mechanisms to the crazy stories that evolution tells us. The living world is awe-inspiring.

Q: How would some of your friends describe you?

A: I think one thing my friends have told me is that, for better or worse, I see the best in people and situations.

Top photo by Brent Whiting, courtesy Farhan Babur.

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