May 20, 2010

Alaa Al-Barghuthi

Alaa Al-Barghuthi’s greatest challenge as a student has been narrowing her focus.

“I want to do everything,” says Al-Barghuthi, a junior with a double major in business and French. “The wealth of opportunities – from meeting world leaders to serving in student government – is why I’m here.”

When Al-Barghuthi first visited the University as a Plano (Texas) Senior High School senior, “it was love at first sight,” she remembers. The oldest of four children in a close-knit family, she was editor of her school’s newspaper, vice president of faculty relations in the Student Congress and participated in several other organizations.

Receiving two scholarships – as a Mustang Scholar and Hunt Leadership Scholar – cemented her decision to attend SMU.

“The scholarships said to me: ‘We’re investing in you because we think you can create change and make an impact.’”

Mustang Scholarships provide partial stipends to support students who bring special talents and diverse perspectives to SMU.

Established in 1993 through a gift from Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt ’65, the Hunt Leadership Scholars Program selects approximately 20 to 25 entering students each year. Students must demonstrate leadership abilities and strong academic performance to qualify.

Al-Barghuthi labels the program “forward-thinking” for exposing students to visiting leaders and intellectuals through the Tate Lecture Series and other events.

Scholars are encouraged to take active roles in campus life. Al-Barghuthi served as development chair for the Student Foundation and speaker of the Student Senate. She is currently an SMU Student Ambassador – members represent the Student Foundation and the SMU student body at key University events – and vice president of Tri Delta sorority.

“I have learned so much about myself in these three years as a Hunt Scholar,” she says. “Most importantly, I’ve learned that leadership is not a string of titles on a résumé; leadership is moving people to be better than they thought they could be and creating some sort of good in this world.”
– Patricia Ward

Read more about scholarships

Great Expectations
Rachel Kittrell: Opening Doors To New Possibilities
Daniel Sanabria: Indescribable Changes, Immeasurable Dividends
Andrea Norris Kline ’08: Making Her Mark On History
Tameca Robertson ’99: Engineering With Heart
Scott Krouse ’03: The World Is His Office
The Donor Difference