Story by Chucky Blackmore, Culture Editor
Photo courtesy of Chucky Blackmore
With AQ’s rather small size, it seems nearly impossible to see someone on campus and not know who they are. However, there are some faces on campus that might become overshadowed by the hustle and bustle of academia and work. Dr. Shamsul Mahmud, visiting professor in the psychology department, is one of these faces.
Dr. Mahmud, a native of Bangladesh, arrived at Aquinas College in August, and will remain on campus until his Fulbright scholarship ends in July. What does Fulbright mean, you might ask? The Fulbright Scholar Program is a competitive international exchange program that seeks to create friendly and peaceful relations among many countries all around the world. The Fulbright Scholar Program is not easy to get into, as it is a process that is overseen by the U.S. government and the governments from which international scholars are visiting.
With his specialization in cultural and diversity psychology, focusing a great deal on immigration policies, Dr. Mahmud looks to conduct research and lectures during his stay at AQ.
If one person could possess an extensive international résumé, Dr. Mahmud would undoubtedly be that person.
Receiving various awards from the British Council, the Hanse Institute of Advanced Studies in Germany, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Dr. Mahmud has proven that the competitive Fulbright scholarship is one he is more than qualified for.
In addition, he has held positions at various colleges around the world, including the U.S., Germany, Britain, Bangladesh, and Japan. He has also published many papers in internationally recognized journals, and has consulted with UNICEF and other known nonprofits.
Before securing all of these achievements, Dr. Mahmud studied at the University of Dhaka, in the capital city of Bangladesh, where he began his journey in psychology. He cites his deep interest in the human mind and helping people as the main reasons for pursuing psychology. While studying in Dhaka, he actively participated as a freedom fighter during the Liberation War of Independence of Bangladesh in 1971.
His first international visit was to Britain in the 1970s, where he ultimately earned his Ph.D at the University of Wales in 1978. International relations and traveling has been a staple to him ever since.
Upon his arrival to AQ, Dr. Mahmud was overwhelmed by the natural post-summer landscape of campus. The small campus and vast nature are changes for him, but they allow him to take it all in and purely reflect on life.
“Every afternoon I walk around the campus, observing nature,” said Dr. Mahmud, “and then I go to the library to read through journals and books.”
His activities outside of being a professor span far and wide. He enjoys sports, including basketball, cricket, and soccer, but jokes that old age has crept up on him, so he happily resorts to watching others play on TV.
Though he states that he isn’t very sociable at home, Dr. Mahmud enjoys entertaining students with stories about his experiences around the world; students also entertain him with their conversations about school, which is something he appreciates very much about Western students.
His liveliness extends far beyond the classroom. Dr. Mahmud also invests a lot of his time as a social worker.
“I do a lot of social work because that is what I inherited from my mother,” he stated.
Dr. Mahmud may not gross a lot of income, however he actively donates to a number of nonprofit organizations, including one that promotes educational opportunities to an orphanage in rural Bangladesh. His mother and father always instilled a sense of social duty in him as a child growing up in Bangladesh.
One can best believe that advice isn’t in short supply when it comes to a well-experienced man like Dr. Mahmud.
In reference to students at AQ and around the world, he stated, “This is a time for learning [for them].”
He remarked that graduation brings about many joys and future experiences for students, and although burying one’s head into the books may seem like a key to success, the most important thing students can do is learn about themselves through traveling and finding new interests.
Next time you are venturing through the basement of the academic building to retrieve your mail, be sure to stop by room 23 to welcome Dr. Mahmud to AQ. You will likely engage in a wonderful conversation about life while drinking green tea with a Fulbright scholar.