Running Down a Dream
By Samantha Whitehurst '13
By Samantha Whitehurst '13
Inspiration can strike at any moment, from a variety of sources. Sometimes inspiration comes from happy experiences, but for Qudratullah (Quad) Qadiri '20 a near-tragic experience set his dreams of medical school in motion.
“My father was shot my sophomore year of high school in a crossfire during work; luckily he survived,” said Qadiri. “As I progress in my journey, I want to be a physician that a small boy, like I once was myself, entrusts with his father’s life.” Qadiri wanted to pursue a career in health care since the shooting, but said he lacked the confidence for medicine until his time at Stockton, switching his major from Physical Therapy to Pre-Med Biology.
Qadiri chose Stockton for its physical therapy program, its competitive track and field program and its convenient location close enough to his family in Ocean Township but far enough away to live on campus.
Qadiri’s family emigrated to the United States from Afghanistan one year before he was born. He said athletics helped him adjust to the American lifestyle while growing up in an Afghan household.
“I never hung out with friends from school at home, but athletics allowed me to create friendships through our mutual interest in our sport,” he said.
Qadiri developed his leadership skills in high school as captain of his track and field team. He continued to lead during his time at Stockton as a member of Student Senate, working as a Resident Assistant for three years, and guiding the Stockton Men's Track and Field team as captain.
“I naturally connected with all my teammates,” he said. “I was training for the decathlon, so I was exposed to all of the event groups during practices. I took pride in my role of uniting the team and leading everyone through practices and competitions. It was a blessing to have the opportunity to help lead the team to success.”
Qadiri was named an Arthur Ashe Jr. Scholar in 2019 and 2020. The awards honor student athletes of color with a minimum 3.20 GPA. Throughout his Stockton career, Qadiri also earned four NJAC Second Team honors, was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 2 Team twice and was voted the NJAC Rookie of the Year for the 2017 indoor track season. But balancing academics and athletics was not always easy.
“I always struggled with balance, but my coaches [Jayson] Resch and [Todd] Curll have helped me tremendously in that field,” he said. “They taught me to list my priorities and not spread myself so thin. I made sure to create a daily and weekly schedule and checklist, that way I did not rely on my own memory but rather could refer to my calendar. I made sure to get all of my work done every day, so I had time to fit athletics in since academics always came first. If I was struggling, I communicated with my coaches who were always understanding with my situation.”
A human life can be torn apart, but with the right person advocating for their wellness, a significant positive difference can be made in the world. I aspire to be that difference.”
Qadiri is now focusing on the next steps in his medical journey on the path to becoming an orthopedic surgeon. He said his time at Stockton has prepared him for the field in more ways than one.
“The faculty and staff were all around so helpful in answering questions and, better yet, always searching for answers that they didn't know themselves. My involvement in track, in various clubs and organizations, academics, and as an RA has led me to be in the best position I can be to apply to medical school. I had great mentorship in research papers with John Guers [former assistant professor of Exercise Science] which are currently on track to become published in scientific journals,” Qadiri said. “I also had great mentorship as a pre-med student with Anthony Dissen [instructor of Health Science] who helped guide me through my courses, MCAT exam, and now interviews. I have also learned many life skills by having the encouraging and loving support system at Stockton that has helped develop resiliency in me as I pursue my future endeavors.”
Qadiri is interested in orthopedic surgery as it will allow him to work with trauma patients and athletes. “I want to be able to perform surgeries and then help athletes recover so they can continue their careers seamlessly," he said. "I know how it feels to deal with injuries, and these setbacks can be detrimental not just to physical health, but mental wellbeing."
As a physician, Qadiri hopes to not only mend wounds but act as a positive influence in the world. “I want to conduct research leading to a new discovery that will impact the lives of millions. I want to provide treatment to the people who feel vulnerable,” he said. “A human life can be torn apart, but with the right person advocating for their wellness, a significant positive difference can be made in the world. I aspire to be that difference.”
Learn more about Stockton's Biology program.