Religion and Culture Graduate Seeks to Build Bridges

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Obaid Rehman
Obaid Rehman

Obaid Rehman believes human connectivity can change the world. “Real, meaningful relationships — that is what I think will truly bring about change,” said Rehman, who earned degrees in biological sciences and religion and culture in Virginia Tech in 2016.

A two-time recipient of the Warren W. Hobbie Scholarship and a former research assistant at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Rehman served as president of the Muslim Student Association and as a web designer and manager of the Appalachian Foodshed Project. He also participated in Tech’s first international interfaith service trip. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities at Tech that I wouldn’t have had other places,” he said.

In fall 2015, when negative grafitti on campus targeted Muslim students, Rehman found opportunity in the midst of adversity and helped organize an event to bring people together. “Standing in Solidarity: A Gathering Against Hate,” spurred a series of activities that would demonstrate support across campus.

A native of Pakistan, Rehman moved to Clifton, Virginia, when he was four. He developed friendships with people from various backgrounds. These relationships, combined with his faith and the leadership he cultivated as an Eagle Scout, nurtured a desire to build bridges between people. Rehman believes that more bridges built equals more problems solved. “It’s kind of like turning on the lights and seeing that there is nothing to be afraid of,” he said.

Following his 2016 graduation from Tech, Rehman spent a year studying Islamic faith at the Tayseer Seminary in Knoxville, Tennessee. In July 2017, he enrolled in the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

“I believe that in medicine there is a sacred bond between the patient and doctor. I believe in thinking globally and acting locally as a way to bring about change in this world,” he said. “I feel a duty to serve the immense need in Appalachia, my backyard growing up and the place I’ve called home for the past five years.”

Written by Travis Williams and reprinted courtesy of Virginia Tech Magazine