CGE Student Spotlight: Chiraz Hicheri

Chiraz Hicheri
International Student from Tunisia
2021-2022 Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Recipient

Chiraz Hicheri, a biomedical engineering student from Tunisia, completed the 2021-2022 academic year at FSU as a recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program (TJSP) sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

The TJSP is implemented by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) for the U.S. Department of State to foster economic growth, stability, and democratic development in Tunisia by providing the recipients with one year of study in U.S. universities to gain skills and lead positive change in their professional fields and communities.

Hicheri was just one of 28 recipients from Tunisia selected for this very competitive award out of 8,000 applicants. She was placed at FSU by IREX since FSU has been a hosting partner for this program since 2016. In addition to completing a full course of study for the Fall and Spring semesters, the recipients must also complete a variety of requirements including:

  • 80 hours of professional internships in the United States within their field of study.
  • 20 hours of community service
  • Participate in virtual and in-person cultural exchange opportunities between Tunisians and Americans.

Throughout her time at FSU, Hicheri dedicated herself to rigorous academic commitments, and was chosen to be a part of the 2021 Women Leadership Institute and the 2022 Florida International Leadership Conference. She volunteered at Second Harvest of the Big Bend to meet her community service requirement and worked on a research project at the MagLab for her internship. In addition, she excelled academically and earned a 4.0 GPA for both academic semesters.

Hicheri’s lab experiences at FSU were of immense value as a biomedical engineering student. “Working in a lab gave me more insight into what graduate school might look like, and gave me a feel for the research world and what it means to do research in an academic setting,” she said.

Hicheri looks forward to her final two years of undergraduate study at the National Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology in Tunisia, and credits her experience at FSU as contributing greatly to her academic and personal growth. “I learned to be more independent and confident in my decisions and choices,” she said.

Her advice for incoming international students is to embrace the experience, meet friends, and learn how to prioritize your tasks to get the most out of this incredibly important opportunity to live and study in the U.S.

“Be open to sharing your culture with other people and invest in experiences,” she said. “Travel as much as you can. This country has so much to offer!”