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From Ghana to Ferkauf

Bassit Malam Bassit Malam, First-year PhD student at Ferkauf

Scholarships Create Diversity

Bassit Mulam, a graduate student from Ghana, didn’t know what to expect when he entered Ferkauf’s Ph.D. program—especially as a Muslim man. But he was pleasantly surprised.

“I have never seen a difference in terms of support and acceptance and encouragement,” he said. “My cohort is a strong tribe. We always have each other’s backs.”

At Ferkauf, he’s engaged in ground-breaking work, investigating the impact of asthma on depression and cognition in older asthmatics. And it’s thanks in large part to YU’s scholarship assistance, which is specially targeted to increasing diversity among researchers and practitioners, that Bassit was able to join the YU family.

Malam came to the U.S. in 2002, at age 8. He grew up in the Bronx, and graduated from Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music and City College of New York and Columbia University. Recognizing Ferkauf’s top-notch clinical health and neuropsychology programs, he then chose to continue his studies and research there.

“A lot of Ph.D. programs don’t have a clinical health component, but Ferkauf is a powerhouse when it comes to that,” he said. “That is where I want to be, and Ferkauf is the pathway to get there.”

The scholarship aid Bassit received offers some relief from student debt, allowing him to pursue his career with greater freedom. “I don’t have to take out more loans. It makes a real difference.”

Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) students are among the most impacted by student debt, and students like Bassit are why Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology established its Diversity Scholarship Fund.

By offering scholarships to BIPOC students, YU is increasing the number of qualified BIPOC therapists who will, in turn, be able to bring more mental health services to underserved communities, just as Bassit plans to do in his career.