Student Profile - Paul Rizk

Paul Rizk lays groundwork for career in medicine

Chemical engineering and physics major Paul Rizk is laying the groundwork for a career in medicine. Now a Paul Rizk large photoLamar University junior, Rizk has set his sights on the Mayo Clinic Medical School in Minnesota. "It may sound cliché, but I like the idea of making a difference in people's lives," Rizk said.

Rizk was accepted to Princeton and Lamar, but after research of both schools and examining the tuition rates, he decided Lamar was the right choice for him. He received the prestigious four-year Mirabeau Scholars award and began his studies in biology. He soon decided to switch his major to chemical engineering and physics with a minor in mathematics in the event that he decided against medical school.

"I was looking ahead to when I have a family, and I think it will be easier to find a job with an engineering degree if I change my mind about medical school,” Rizk said. “I want to be able to provide for my family the best way possible."

Rizk learned from his parents about the importance of providing for family and giving to others. His father lived in Egypt and supported his immediate and extended family with three jobs while attending medical school simultaneously. "I don't know how he did it. It seems impossible to me, but he did it," Rizk said.

His mother has been involved in several charities throughout his life and helped him link up with a pen pal from the Philippines his junior year of high school. "We still talk to each other. He is trying to go to school and help support his family. He has inspired me so much and taught me the importance of education. I think we take education for granted, and I am thankful to be in school with opportunities," Rizk said.

Rizk is very involved on campus and in the community. He volunteers at Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospital and shadows physicians in the emergency room during surgeries. "This is a very important part of the pre-medical process because medical schools want their students to be exposed to real medicine before they enroll. After shadowing, many students decide not to go into medicine. That’s a decision medical schools would prefer be made sooner rather than later,” Rizk said.

He is also lieutenant governor of Lamar Circle K International, an organization devoted to bettering the community, serves as vice president of the Lamar University Ambassadors, and is a member of the American Medical Student Association. Despite all his extracurricular activities, he still finds time to be the vice president of Lamar’s rugby club and keep his name on the President’s list for four consecutive semesters.

The longer Rizk has been here, the more he says it feels like home. “I love that Lamar has named the dorms like Campbell Hall instead of just Phase I, II and so on. Even though my family lives a few miles away in Beaumont, the dorms are starting to feel homey,” said Rizk.

When asked about the things that made him like Lamar, Rizk replied, “I love the diverse campus. I have good friends that I have known since high school, but I also have made friends that are from other countries like Ecuador. The members from my rugby team are from all over Texas. I know everyone says this, but we [Lamar] really are a melting pot.”

In addition to the Mirabeau Scholarship, he has received the Lamar Academic Challenge Scholarship and is a member of Phi Alpha Phi. Rizk plans to graduate in May 2014 and has no intention of slowing down.