Freshman Ferhina Ali, prior to attending UR, received one of 10 grants of $10,000 awarded by McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Tylenol, to aide her in pursuing a health-related profession.

“The future of health care is a priority for us,” Vice President of Marketing at McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals Ashley McEvoy said in a recent press release.

Ali is drawn to medicine because of its variety of applications. “It’s a humane field,” Ali, who continues her appreciation for medical research and ophthalmology at UR, said. “Medicine gives me the opportunity to combine a myriad of interests into one unique field.”

Ali hopes to be able to pursue both the educational and research aspects of medicine. She is specifically interested in opthalmology, specialization in eye-care and visual science.

“It is so rare to see someone that doesn’t wear glasses or contacts,” Ali explained. “It is such a prevalent concern that there is a lot of energy within the research. The advancements being made in the field are remarkable.

“However,” she continues, “while ophthalmology is something that interests me, future experiences can certainly lead me into different areas of medicine.”

Ali, who attended Susan Wagner High School on Staten Island, has a strong background in medical research. She worked on an aging program study at the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities on Staten Island – her research compared the behaviors exhibited by mentally retarded dementia patients with Down’s Syndrome and Alzheimer’s Disease exhibit during certain cognitive testing to the behaviors of non-demented patients.

“This was a great learning experience for me and very rewarding, and I would definitely like to pursue research further, but on a more biological perspective.”

The freshman, who plans to pursue a major in neuroscience, doesn’t want to limit her academic interests. “I’m just a first-year student,” she said.

“I would really like to minor in legal studies and I’m taking logic right now. The legal studies minor offers a lot of Health and Society courses, which I think are really beneficial for someone hoping to pursue medicine.

“I definitely don’t want to limit the possibilities,” Ali reiterated.

“I think you can’t just focus on the science of medicine – it is also a social science even though it is always classified as a natural science,” Ali concluded. “There are so many issues that doctors and scientists should really be aware of, such as health care.”

Welzer can be reached at

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