Ali Assi

2014 The Visionary


Ali Assi has a clear vision: He sees a future of serving others, positively impacting the world and each person he meets.

His work at University of Michigan-Dearborn—in the lab, across campus and throughout the community—suggests he’s already on his way.

For the past year, Ali has conducted research at the Karmanos Cancer Institute. There, he’s learned to perform medical research procedures, helped maintain the lab, analyzed data and presented his findings both locally and abroad.

“His success in the laboratory can be attributed to his natural ability to lead, as well as his ability to think outside the box,” said Cecilia Speyer, lecturer I of biological sciences. “The students in the lab turn to Ali for leadership and guidance.”

On campus, Ali’s leadership abilities are on full display as well.

As president of Students for Islamic Awareness, Ali’s goal is for the organization to serve both the Muslim and non-Muslim communities. That’s why he works to build bridges with other faith-based organizations and develop a strong interfaith community for future collaboration.

Collaboration also is key to Ali’s other leadership role of founder and president of the university’s Neurology Club.

Ali’s desire is to broaden the opportunities and resources available to UM-Dearborn students passionate about progressing the field of neurology. He’s reaching that goal by connecting with other area universities with neurology clubs, hoping to bring students together to build a stronger community of scientists.

The club isn’t entirely focused on science, though. The Neurology Club has volunteered at Detroit soup kitchens and is planning to work with DMC Children’s Hospital and World Medical Relief.

“My team and I have hosted many group volunteering events because we want to associate the passion of being a scientist with helping to build a better community,” he said.

That desire to build a better community spills over into Ali’s free time. Off campus, he tutors local students and leads a youth mentoring program. He’s also the co-founder of Students for Orphan Relief, which plans to help build clean-water wells in Africa this year.

Charting out a future to change the world could be a bit daunting. But not for Ali.

“Those who revolutionize the world have one thing in common,” he said. “They have the passion to make the world better.”