By: Ryan Jordan
Hampton University graduate student Ghezlan Al Ostath received a $1,500 award at the 32nd Conference of the National Union of Kuwaiti Students (NUKS) for her academic excellence during the 2014-2015 school year. She accompanied many students from Kuwait to the conference at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego, California on November 25-28, where they were recognized in front of an audience of 3,500 guests.
This year's conference themed "Kuwait's Dream is Fulfilled with Us" was the NUKS-USA branch's 5th consecutive year. The conference consisted of academic workshops, seminars and forums on anything from politics to entertainment. Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) was a platinum sponsor of international conference.
Ostath and the other students from Kuwait attending American universities were recognized by the State of Kuwait Ambassador to the U.S. Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah, the honorable US Ambassador to Kuwait Ambassador Douglas Silliman and minister of higher education of Kuwait Dr. Bader Al Essa.
Ostath is one of those students; both her undergraduate and graduate studies in the U.S. are sponsored by the Kuwaiti Embassy and the Ministry of Higher Education of Kuwait. She is a second-year candidate for a master's degree in speech-language pathology in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Hampton University and received her undergraduate degree at Temple University. She began her involvement with the NUKS-USA in 2011, and by 2014 served as the Vice President of the conference committee. At this year's conference Ostath was the head of the conference committee, organizing sponsorship of the event by Kuwait Minister of Education, the Kuwaiti Prime Minister, Sheikh Jabar Al Mubarak Al Sabah, over 25 private companies and government sectors in Kuwait, and managing the attendance of over 5000 guests.
"I hope that my dream will one day benefit my country that has given me so much support throughout my academic degree and I can benefit those who have been denied speech and language services for so long due to lack of accredited professionals," Ostath said. "I have been motivated and supported academically by my entire department, fellow classmates, professors, academic advisor Dr. Tamara Freeman and chair of department Dr. Dorian Wilkerson. I learn so much from them as a student and hope that I can go back one day to implement and practice. I've also received so much support from the international office at Hampton University Ms. Ebony Majeed and Leah Pfitzinger, who allowed me to acclimate to the academic and American culture at HU."
Ostath received a $1500 award from the Kuwait Ministry of Higher Education for her academic excellence as a graduate student, maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.96 for the 2014-2015 academic year. She plans on using her cash award toward saving to establish a professional center to assess, diagnose, and treat those individuals denied health care services that that could yield effective communication in her country. Speech-language pathology is a fairly new field in Kuwait, so Ostath will be one of the first few speech-language pathologists with a master's degree.