More About the Author
THE TALE OF A SERVANT OF EDUCATION
My name is Rashidul Bari. As a CRISP scholar, currently I'm pursuing a master's degree in physics education at New York University (NYU). The past 10 years have been the most productive time in my life, thanks to CUNY: I've already earned five bachelor's degrees from three different CUNY institutions York College, City College of New York and Lehman College, as well as a master's degree from Brooklyn College. I want to share with you four stories that shaped my life, all of which took place on four different campuses of CUNY: York College, Brooklyn College, CCNY, and Lehman College. That's it. No big deal--just four stories.
MY FIRST STORY TAKES PLACE AT YORK COLLEGE AND ITS PROTAGONIST IS JERALD POSMAN:
Here, I earned my first bachelor's degree in political science; however, I love York College for a different reason. One day in 2006, as a student at York, I asked the Vice President, Prof. Posman, to undertake an initiative that would enable unprivileged children of Grameen Bank, a microfinancing program that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, to study at York College. The culmination of these efforts transpired on February 11, 2008, when Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, appeared at York and launched the scholarship project. In fact, Posman inspired me to write Yunus' biography. Ever since, I have written extensively in English and Bengali about Yunus in books, poems, songs, magazines, newspapers, and films. In fact, my most recent article, "Trial of Muhammad Yunus," has become one of the most popular articles of the Times of India. Posman summarized my role in the Daily Star, saying, "Bari serves as the James Boswell to Muhammad Yunus' Samuel Johnson."
MY SECOND STORY TAKES PLACE AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE AND ITS PROTAGONIST IS MARK UNGAR:
Here, I earned my first master's degree in political science; however, I love Brooklyn College for a different reason. In 2009, Dr. Mark Ungar, my master's thesis advisor at Brooklyn College, asked me to write my thesis on Grameen Bank, including how its founder developed the ideas of microcredits and social businesses. My job was to place Yunus' concepts within the context of economic theory. However, as soon as I started writing it, I realized that I lacked the necessary competency in economics. Hence, I decided to pursue a second degree in economics at CCNY. After applying my newly learned skills to the thesis and submitting it to Brooklyn College with great expectation, I learned that I accomplished more than was necessary. Hence, Dr. Unger helped me publish Grameen Social Business Model, which is available from retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. The success of this book paved the way for recognition as a writer. On the morning of August 16, 2012, I received the biggest news of my life from the Times of India, the largest newspaper in the world: I was invited to become a contributor.
MY THIRD STORY TAKES PLACE AT CCNY AND ITS PROTAGONIST IS MICHIO KAKU:
Here, I earned my second bachelor's degree in economics, but I love CCNY for a different reason. Taking a physics class with Michio Kaku at CCNY changed my entire view of the universe. He pulled me from the easy world of political science and economics and pushed me toward the difficult world of math and science. He persuaded me to pursue a career in science not because I did extremely well in his class but because youths--especially Muslim youths--are falling behind in math and science. He also helped me to write many scientific articles including, "Who Is Actually Insulting Islam," which appeared in the Times of India. In this article, I made the analogy: When do the lives of 15 million Jewish people have a greater value than 1.6 billion Muslims? The grave humor of such an extreme analogy was to remind Muslims about the consequences of neglecting education and focusing too much on religion.
MY FOURTH STORY TAKES PLACE AT LEHMAN COLLEGE AND ITS PROTAGONIST IS DANIEL KABAT:
The influence of Kaku was so enormous that I could not escape from it. Therefore, instead of commencing a Ph.D. in political economics, I decided to enter into the world of math and science. I chose Lehman College to pursue my third, fourth, and fifth bachelor's degrees in math, physics, and computer science. However, I had no idea that this would eventually lead me to meet my greatest teacher of all: Dr. Daniel Kabat. It was, actually, Kabat who made me think like a scientist. Currently, I am collaborating with him on a mathematics-physics book titled, Beautiful Mathematical Laws of Physics, which is set for release in January 2015.
I AM A PRODUCT OF CUNY:
Like CUNY, I hope NYU will amalgamate all four parts of myself into one whole person to become a real polymath like my four heroes--so that one day, I can help young people--especially young Muslims who have been bred to religious passion--to understand that there is something more important than religion: solving math problems, developing algorithms, and discovering new technologies. Some of the many dreams in my life include earning at least three Ph.Ds. in the different fields of math, physics, and computer science; becoming a full-time professor of physics; and creating more physics, math, and computer science video tutorials for distance learners. However, the ultimate goal of my life is somewhat different--which is captured in my own poem:
If I could save $1--I'd buy a pack of chalk.
If I could save $10--I'd buy even more chalk.
If I could save $100--I'd buy a chalkboard.
If I could save $1,000--I'd buy even more chalkboards.
If I could save $10,000--I'd buy a house and turn it into a classroom.
If I could save $100,000, however, I'd quit my job to spend all my time with chalk & chalkboards.
My dream, I know, makes even fiction seem tame. But I'm more hopeful than ever that my dream will come true, because the co-author of this fiction is my four mentors--Jerald Posman, Mark Ungar, Michio Kaku and Daniel Kabat.