I started my journey at the American Academy Larnaca in grade 3, I had just turned 13 years old. I was born in Kuwait and had lived most of my childhood in Qatar. Cyprus was our summer destination, we already had friends that we used to come visit in the summertime. In 1989 Cyprus became our home and we were all enrolled, myself and my bothers, 4 kids in the American Academy Larnaca.
I felt as if this was my chance to start over again. I worked hard towards finishing my post graduate program in Medical Physics and came back to Cyprus where I was the second qualified female medical physicist to work at the Bank of Cyprus Oncology center. I started at the center with one of the most renown Cypriot physicists who came all the way from the U.S. to commission and help in launching the modern radiotherapy era in Cyprus. I went on and got my American Board of Radiology certification and became a certified physicist. I grew in the field, and I always remembered how my teachers and classmates at the Academy shaped my decisions and how I was a proud American Academy graduate.
I have changed many countries, from Canada, to Cyprus, Lebanon, and my final stop here in the United States. And I have come to realize that my education and the rich base that I received was my weapon to start anew. It was the support I had where I could work anywhere and achieve my goals. I am currently an Assistant Chief Medical Physicist at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, USA, and I also hold a position of assistant clinical instructor at the University of Pittsburgh. I am thankful and blessed to be part of the American Academy Alumni and share my path and the inspiration I received from my educators to be the person I am today.
My years at the academy molded the person I am today. Going onto grades 6 and 7, I decided to venture into physics. My physics teacher at the academy was very supportive and ratified my love for physics. As we went through our A-level physics modules he was the first person to introduce me to what I do today, Medical Physics. This sparked the passion which shaped my life and my career path. I graduated already determined to go into an undergraduate physics program and I received the American Academy physics prize that year. I started my path by enrolling in an undergraduate physics program at McGill University, Canada, which happened to have one of the top Medical Physics programs at that time. And this was the start of my career journey.
Initially I was supposed to enter grade 2, but my father insisted that I could manage going into grade 3. Coming from an English system and entering a Greek-English environment, where me Greek was poor, I was trying to fit in. The warm welcome I received with the many friends that became a part of me growing up and until this day was more than I could wish for.
While preparing for the entrance exams I had to prepare all the summer, this is when one of the Math teachers in the Academy pointed out that I was good at Math. That stuck in and as an eager 13-year-old, I tapped into that unforeseen potential. My love for the sciences was endorsed by my educators at the academy and coming into grade 4 I was already inclined to go into the GCE (now GCSE) sciences.
Part of my memorable journey was working towards the trip to Greece, it was a great experience working with my classmates in the cafeteria, and then ramping up to one of my unforgettable times. My adolescent years were a mix of discovering who I am and what I wanted to be.