When a high school teacher made fun of 15-year-old Maria Ghulam for not knowing what the word “essay” meant, Ghulam was angry. The Saudi Arabian native had just transferred from an all Arabic school to an international one where everything was taught in English and she hated being ridiculed. That experience, combined with her commitment to family and beyond-her-years maturity, led Ghulam to set some goals: to own property, to become an entrepreneur and to be part of the community.
At a young age, Ghulam wanted to be independent and though young, she loved the idea of owning real estate. To her, owning property meant a secure and stable future for herself and her family. She is working toward that goal.
Ghulam has a wide variety of cultural experiences. She has studied abroad and learned several languages. While fluent in English and Arabic, Ghulam also has working proficiency in Korean and Japanese. She used this knowledge to give back to the community by teaching English to refugees and helping students in the Japanese Club practice their Japanese language skills. Ghulam has also helped with fundraisers and assisted a nonprofit organization, Tampa City Ballet, by coordinating events and upgrading its branding and social media strategies.
Ghulam graduated from USF with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Currently, she has a 4.0 GPA in pursuit of a master’s degree in entrepreneurship, which she plans to use one day in her own business. She works as a graduate assistant for marketing capstone courses, an outreach agent at the Florida Blue Health Care Innovation Competition and holds leadership roles with the USF Entrepreneurship Society and Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization.