Art and biology major receives Northwestern Faculty Honors award

Ali Almail, a double major in art and genetics, molecular biology and cellular biology from Bahrain and Canada, received Faculty Honors during Northwestern College’s commencement exercises on May 8.

The Faculty Honors award is bestowed upon graduates who excel in academic achievement, Christian influence, general attitude and participation in worthwhile campus activities. The highest honor the faculty gives to graduating seniors, it is determined by a vote of the entire faculty.

Almail graduated Summa Cum Laude for compiling a grade point average of 3.90 or above and received the Outstanding Graduating Senior Award from both the art and biology departments. An Honors Scholar, Almail conducted Junior Scholar research with a biology professor and served as a research assistant for chemistry and physics professors. His work in SEA-PHAGES research resulted in an invitation to be one of seven student speakers at the program’s national symposium.

Almail combined his two majors to create “Genetic Composition of Christ,” a six-panel metal installation in Northwestern’s DeWitt Family Science Center. The digital artwork features a famous 16th century painting by El Greco of Christ suffering as he carried the cross. Almail produced the image using the nitrogenous bases that code for genes corresponding to prevalent diseases in an effort to get people to think about the relationship between Jesus Christ’s humanity and divinity.

A leader in Northwestern’s International Club, Almail served as a peer tutor. In the summer of 2019, he was one of only 12 Christian college students from across North America chosen to participate in the Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts Symposium at Wheaton College in Illinois. He seeks to become a physician scientist combining medicine and research.