Virgin Islands student seeks to inspire others with new Wikipedia article

When University of the Virgin Islands psychology major Reem Mohamad enrolled in an English course this spring, the last thing she expected was to change her long held skepticism of Wikipedia as a reliable source of information. Fast forward to the end of the semester – Mohamad not only published a brand new Wikipedia article, but also asserts the rigor of the site’s policies and standards to safeguard content quality.

“Since youth, I’ve always been taught that Wikipedia is an ‘unreliable source’ since everyone can edit a published article,” explained Mohamad. “However, since becoming an editor, I’ve realized the opposite is true. Wikipedia is a lot more structured and rigid in its publication regulations, making edits much more complex.”

Along with her classmates, Mohamad sought to develop new biography articles featuring diverse individuals with notable achievements in STEM as part of a special initiative supported by the Broadcom Foundation. Mohamad created the new article for Quinton Williams, an African American physicist and professor at Howard University.

For Mohamad, who plans to attend medical school in the future, the focus of her Wikipedia assignment felt particularly meaningful as a woman and person of color (POC).

“Seeing another person of color succeed in STEM made me happy,” said Mohamad. “Being a woman and a POC, it can sometimes be overwhelming and create feelings of doubt. ‘Am I going to succeed?’, is a question I frequently ask myself, but whenever I see fellow POCs succeeding in a field I am in, it diminishes my doubts and offers a sense of security.”

Reem Mohamad
Reem Mohamad. Photo courtesy Reem Mohamad, all rights reserved.

When fellow women and POCs read the biographies published by her class on Wikipedia, Mohamad hopes they feel the same sense of security and encouragement. 

To tackle the challenge of creating a new article from scratch, the fourth-year student created a schedule for herself, dedicating different days to specific tasks including robust research, organizing sources, and formatting the article. Not only did the assignment enhance her research skills, but it also sharpened her time management practices – both key competencies that she’ll bring to her next internship and future medical degree, noted Mohamad. 

“When writing about an important person and making that information available to everyone, I feel significant pressure to make sure that everything I report is as accurate as possible, since it can have negative consequences on the chosen individual and/or author if anything is reported inaccurately,” said Mohamad.

When reflecting on her favorite aspects of editing Wikipedia, the future psychiatrist emphasized the joy of seeing her small, individual sections of the article come together to create one cohesive biography about Quinton Williams. 

“It didn’t seem like much detail when formulating each section, but when I saw the whole article, I was truly amazed seeing all of the information reported,” she explained.

At times, finding appropriate and notable sources for the article proved to be a challenge for Mohamad. She recognized the impact of the support of her Wikipedia Expert, Wiki Education’s Brianda Felix, crediting much of her success with the project to Felix’s guidance through sources and citation practices.

And when comparing the Wikipedia assignment to a more traditional research, Mohamad knows her preference.

“It felt much more fun and rewarding as I made an actual contribution to public information,” said Mohamad. “I felt a stronger sense of accomplishment once the completed article came together versus when doing a traditional research paper.”

Interested in incorporating a Wikipedia assignment into your course? Visit to learn more about the free assignment templates and resources that Wiki Education offers to instructors in the United States and Canada.


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