Photo by Casanda Anderson
A month after travelling 26 hours to reach her new university, Bassant Mahmound, a native of Cairo, Egypt, describes her new home-away-from-home as cozy and welcoming.
Mahmound received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish at Al-Alsun Faculty of Language in Cairo. This fall she began the pursuit of her master’s degree in Women’s Leadership under the direction of Dr. Bridget Pieschel, the director of the Center for Women's Research and Public Policy and a professor of English here at Mississippi University for Women.
Pieschel, whom Mahmound contacted two years ago via email with interest in the program, thought that her experience and dedication to the area of study would make her a good fit for the graduate program.
“I was thrilled and believed that she would be an immeasurable asset to our program,” said Pieschel. “I hope her success in this program leads to others from Egypt and other countries to want to do the same.”
The United States Agency for International Development in cooperation with Ministry of Education in Egypt funds the scholarship that allowed Mahmound to continue her education here in the United States.
Of the six applicants, Mahmound was the only one to be awarded the opportunity.
“Because of her work experience and focus, she was an ideal candidate and accepted two years ago when she first contacted us,” said Pieschel. “The hard part was confirming the Egyptian and U.S. government paperwork approval to get her funding.”
The requirements the applicants had to complete for the scholarship were to apply to a school in the United States and pass an English exam known as the International English Testing System.
After successfully completing the exam, Bassant began to search for schools that had her two majors in mind— Women’s Leadership and International Development. She contacted several universities. She sent in her exam results and stated why she wanted to study at their universities.
“Several universities replied, and others didn’t,” said Mahmound
When Bassant sent in her inquiries to The W, it was Dr. Pieschel who accepted her request and allowed her to study here in her field of choice.
“I want to thank Dr. Pieschel,” said Mahmound. “She has been a great supporter and a big help.”
Mahmound also has thoughts for her plans after college.
“I would like to join one of the international organizations in Egypt that has a relationship with women or work on the Women’s National Counsel in Egypt to take advantage of what I have studied,” said Mahmound.
She can fluently speak, read and write Arabic, Spanish and English. Mahmound worked five years as a consultant agent, and she also worked as a translator and coordinator in Egypt.