Abington student earns leadership, service scholarship

Abington Career Development

Alaa Alkurdi (middle row, fourth from right) was selected to attend the first Penn State Abington Civil Discourse Retreat.

Credit: Pam Brobst

ABINGTON, Pa. — Alaa Alkurdi, a Penn State Abington senior, has been awarded the John and Veda Kay Black Student Leadership Scholarship for 2017-18 by the University. The award recognizes a full-time undergraduate who has achieved a superior academic record and serves in student leadership positions. 

Alkurdi, a member of the Abington Honors Program, is a biology major with a minor in writing and plans to attend medical school. 

Known as Loulou on campus, she serves as the treasurer and nonfiction editor of The Abington Review, the college's award-winning, student-run literary magazine. She previously worked on the publication's editorial board and her own work has been published in the annual.

Alkurdi was selected as the student representative on the Academic Integrity Committee and participated in the college’s first Civil Discourse Seminar, through which she learned how to address controversial topics in productive ways that create space for a diverse range of perspectives. She also works as a tutor in the Learning Center.

Liliana M. Naydan, assistant professor of English and writing program coordinator, praised Alkurdi.

“Loulou is a great writer with a keen analytical mind and an ability to connect well with her peers. She’s also a great leader in and beyond my classrooms,” Naydan said. “She has proven herself to be among the best students I’ve taught at Penn State or anywhere.”

Beyond campus, Alkurdi volunteers at the Willow Grove Family Practice, where she runs the diabetic outreach program. 

About Penn State Abington

Penn State Abington offers baccalaureate degrees in 19 majors at its suburban location just north of Philadelphia. Nearly half of its 4,000 students complete all four years at Abington, with opportunities in undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics, and more. Students can start the first two years of more than 160 Penn State majors at Abington and complete their degrees at University Park or another campus.