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Osama Awadalla

Osama Awadalla

Meet Osama Awadalla

Hometown: Union City, CA
College: Arts & Sciences
Major: Statistical Sciences
Year: 2025

Osama’s decision to come to Cornell was mainly due to his strong interest in the university’s statistics program. The curriculum’s flexibility in course selection, coupled with being accepted into the Cornell Tradition solidified his choice. Osama admits that at first, he feared that Cornell’s rigorous academic and professional demands might interfere with his commitment to community service. However, once he learned that he had been selected into the Cornell Tradition, he was motivated to know that he could continue his dedication to the service work he had been engaged in back at his hometown in Union City, California. 

On campus, Osama holds the position of Outreach Chair at MECCA, the Muslim Student Association. Additionally, he is actively involved in URMC (Underrepresented Minorities in Computing) where he serves as the social chair. In addition to his leadership roles, he is an active member of the Spike ball Club. He also has an enthusiasm for basketball and fitness. 

When asked to share about a favorite Cornell memory, Osama recalled Halloween 2022. He and a group of friends went to the Seven-Eleven in Collegetown, bought a bunch of snacks and spent the night outside, simply enjoying each other's company until 4:00am. It was a carefree night where they could all unwind and escape from their usual responsibilities. 

As a Tradition Fellow, Osama likes how the program encourages its members to continue their engagement in the activities that they already love and enjoy. For Osama, the program’s requirements serve as a guiding framework that helps him to stay focused and strive for personal growth. He feels that The Cornell Tradition has challenged him to achieve potentials that he didn’t think of achieving. Tradition’s work requirements prompted Osama to seek employment. Since working, he has been exposed to various career paths, which has sparked an interest in possibly teaching someday. In addition to benefitting from professional growth, Osama appreciates the financial support provided by the program. He also shared that being a Fellow has helped him to forge meaningful friendships, adding to the overall positive experience. 

One of The Cornell Tradition’s benefits that Osama has utilized is the Frank H.T. Rhodes Cornell Tradition Endowment to support Cornell Tradition Fellows in international service experiences. During the winter break of 2023, Osama utilized Rhodes funds to return to his home country of Sudan. While there, he dedicated his time to serve at a children’s cancer home, similar to the Ronald McDonald House. He taught the children English, IT skills, and other computer science concepts. His evenings were spent volunteering at a soup kitchen. As he was traveling from one region to another within the country, riots and protests erupted, closing bridges and resulting in Osama missing his flight. 

Due to the ongoing crises in the country, Osama redirected his efforts towards aiding the Sudanese refugees who were fleeing to Egypt. In Egypt, he worked alongside other volunteers, and helped Sudanese refugees integrate into their new environment. Volunteer efforts ranged from assisting with job searches to providing essential resources like food, shelter, and blankets. Even though the plans for his experience changed, Osama was still able to fulfill his desire to support people during their time of need. Working with an organization called SI (Sudanese Initiative), Osama was able to carry out their mission: to provide essential support and resources to those displaced by conflict and hardship. Some of the tasks that Osama performed involved unloading shipments of food aid that were delivered from the UAE; outreach efforts and other hands-on assistance duties. In the low-income areas of Cairo that were densely populated with Sudanese refugees, he formed connections within the Sudanese community.  Seeking out those in need, he worked to inform individuals of SI’s services that could be provided. 

Osama also organized workshops on subjects like Python coding and Microsoft Word tutorials. At the Adani school, he facilitated workshops on digital literacy and freelancing platforms like Upwork. His goal was to empower refugees with the knowledge and skills that would help them to possibly earn an income. 

Osama’s advice for students is to travel! To go outside of one’s comfort zone can be a transformative experience that can broaden personal perspective. “Try traveling with friends. You should at least travel once during your college experience. For people who don’t have the financial means, maybe try to apply for a grant. Or try to go on a service trip or an educational experience trip. There are so many resources that people could use to travel, even if they don't have the funds to do so. I would say just try to make it possible.” 

After Osama graduates, he wants to be a researcher conducting quantitative research in the financial markets and eventually pursue a PhD.