Nicholas Dibley and Sahar Abdullah (pictured above, left to right), both juniors in the Biomedical Informatics program at the School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC) were recently recognized as two of IUPUI’s Top 100 undergraduate students for 2022. Each year, the IUPUI Office of Alumni Relations honors 100 outstanding undergraduate students who demonstrate excellence in three categories—academic excellence, campus leadership, and community engagement. These “top 100” Jags represent everything that makes IUPUI exceptional.
Assistant Dean of Student Services Amy Maidi, said, “This year the School of Informatics and Computing faculty and staff focused on highlighting our students’ contributions. We know what a huge impact they make on IUPUI, the Indianapolis community, and the world. As a result, we are excited but not surprised to see the work of these two exceptional students honored by the campus. They have made a profound difference in our school through their work and research. We could not be more proud!”
Dibley has had several leadership roles at IUPUI, as SAAC president, Horizon League SAAC secretary, IUPUI swim team captain and Team Impact representative, as well as secretary of the Bioinformatics Club. In addition, he has volunteered at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Zoo, Indianapolis Convention Center, Riley Children’s Hospital, and St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. He is also a member of the Honors College.
Dibley said he chose his undergraduate major because it was a perfect combination of everything that he was looking for; namely, computer science, health and the human body, and math. After investigating Biomedical Informatics a bit more, he discovered IUPUI’s accelerated program through which he could also obtain a master’s degree in a total of five years.
Following graduate school, Dibley plans on working at a research institution as a Bioinformatics Research Scientist. Genetic disease such cystic fibrosis has always piqued his interest and he believes that fully diving into research in this area will yield great results. “The many connections that IUPUI has to offer around Indy is just one of many examples of how this program could jump start my career and help me reach my goals. For as long as I have known about this major, I have wanted to conduct my own research on genetic disease. Graduating with a Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics from IUPUI would give me the tools and resources to do just that,” he said.
Abdullah has been active on campus as an SoIC student ambassador and an iDEW (Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce) high school mentor, and helped restart the Women in Tech student organization fall semester 2021. She has also been a teaching assistant for science classes and performed research with bioinformatics professor Jingwen Yan, studying differential gene expression of genes involved in Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, Abdullah was the undergraduate student recipient of the 2022 Women’s History Month Recognition Award at IUPUI.
“While I was in high school, I attended the SoIC open houses, capstone events, and other programs. At these events, I was exposed to all the opportunities that SoIC has to offer. The students and staff were always very welcoming and informative. I participated in the SoIC summer camps as well, and these great experiences prompted me to do my own research on SoIC when choosing a major. The incorporation of technology and biological sciences is what drew me to biomedical informatics,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah’s future plans are to work in the health care field and utilize biomedical informatics.