“When I graduated from LAU, it was truly an unforgettable moment,” says Karen El Boustani, a Pharmacy graduate of the Lebanese American University (LAU) who has successfully defeated many hurdles in her life since losing her hearing in her youth.
In 2017, she was awarded LAU’s Sara Khatib Inspiration Award. This accolade is reserved for the institution’s most awe-inspiring students, and for El Boustani, it serves as a symbol of her profound determination, which was nourished during her time at LAU.
At a young age, El Boustani was diagnosed with an advanced health condition that caused her to be completely deaf in both ears. Despite the hearing impairment, she not only completed her BS in Pharmacy successfully, but thrived while doing so. In fact, she and her sister recently opened their own pharmacy in Mar Takla, Lebanon, utilizing the tools and skills they both gained from their LAU degrees.
Completing a pharmacy degree is no easy feat for any student at the renowned LAU School of Pharmacy, with its advanced study requirements and intense curriculum – and being the only accredited school of its kind by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) outside of the United States.
However, despite her inability to hear, El Boustani was able to succeed in the program and received her Pharmacy degree in 2017. Looking back, she says that she would not have been able to do so without the remarkable support she received from her professors, fellow students, and other peers at LAU.
El Boustani’s success, and that of fellow students at LAU who might otherwise not be able to attend the university due to personal or financial constraints, highlights remarkable feats made possible by the continued financial backing of the institution and its young scholars.
Financial donations to LAU – many of which are put towards enhancing its facilities and curriculum, and attracting the most competent and talented faculty, professors, and staff – helped El Boustani complete her studies despite her challenging personal hurdles.
“I am so very grateful to my teachers and the doctors at LAU’s School of Pharmacy, who were patient and supportive, but at the same time treated me like all of the other students,” explains El Boustani.
Reflecting on the personal support from her peers and mentors that allowed her to flourish at the institution, she says “Though I was technically in competition with my classmates, they were still understanding, kind, and motivational. They made my journey a bit less stressful.”
Now, El Boustani hopes to help raise awareness of the vast capabilities of those with health impairments through her work as a pharmacist and pharmacy owner. A role she says she would have never reached had it not been for the incredible support that she received at LAU, an institution that is dedicated to delivering its promise of providing a solid education to all who seek it.
“I will never forget what the LAU community has done for me, and I am forever grateful,” El Boustani says.