About Syrita Faraj

Biology major Syrita Faraj started playing basketball around age 4 or 5; she’s also dreamed of a career in medicine since childhood.

Now she’s a student-athlete and Biology major with a pre-med concentration at Russell Sage College. 

“I don’t think I could do school without basketball,” she said. “It pushes me more and makes me better at school.” 

Syrita said she earned high grades in high school, but found it harder to balance the pre-med workload, athletics and a job during her first semester in college. 

“Tutoring helped a lot,” she said of the resources available through Sage’s Academic Support Center. “When I asked professors, can I meet with you, they wouldn’t hesitate,” she continued, but it was her basketball coach who helped her devise the planning system she now uses to keep track of assignments. 

“My coach is always on top of things,” Syrita said. “She’ll call me in to say, ‘Get on Moodle [course management system], let me check your grades.’ That motivated me more. I know she’s checking them and I need to do good. She’s very on top of grades and basketball.”

By second semester, Syrita’s grades were higher, and at the end of the basketball season, she was the team’s leading scorer and the NCAA’s Empire 8 athletic conference Women’s Basketball Rookie of the Year. 

“I love the people that I play with, the teamwork,” she said.

She’s also been checking in with pre-med advisor and Biology Professor Mary Rea, Ph.D., to talk about her future. 

“I want to be a PA or a physician. I’m not sure which one yet,” said Syrita. “I want to work in a family medicine type of practice.”

She is spending the summer before her sophomore year pursuing opportunities that will give her the patient contact hours that medical schools and physician assistant programs require.

She will also spend time reviewing course materials for Anatomy and Physiology — a notoriously intense class required for graduate programs in the medical sciences — that she will take next year.  

“I know Professor Rea will put me on the right track,” Syrita said.