Mahmood Syed, class of 2017, posing in a chemistry lab wearing a lab coat

Mahmood Syed '17

  • Major: Biochemistry
  • Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina

Mahmood Syed will never forget his first knee-replacement surgery. The surgery wasn’t performed on him. But the procedure changed his life, and pushed him toward a career in the life sciences.

Participating in a clinical observation program with the Greenville Health System (GHS) last year, Syed had a front row seat to the surgery. “It was a really brutal process,” he said. “But throughout, the surgeons were so calm and focused. It was surreal for me to see this surgery live as opposed to viewing it online. It helped me to see surgery as a career option.”

For five hours each week Syed followed physicians on their rounds as they spoke with patients about treatment options and nurtured them through recovery. A partnership forged between Furman and GHS paved the way for this unique level of undergraduate access.

Back on campus, Syed’s Furman path has been shaped by his experiences working side-by-side with chemistry faculty members. During the summers after his freshman, sophomore and junior years, Syed remained on campus to conduct undergraduate research, a common practice with many science majors.

Along the way, the professors encouraged, prodded and pushed Syed, helping to open new career opportunities and windows of understanding. His latest project, eye-opening bio-organic research with Chemistry Professor Greg Springsteen has piqued his interest in scientific research and teaching.

“I loved the research. It was independent work with Dr. Springsteen providing guidance,” Syed said. “I learned what real researchers go through to find answers. The amount of creativity and persistence it takes to progress forward with research is both amazing and fascinating.”