Wed04232014

Greater Metro

Master’s student draws a bead on Tel Aviv

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Jocelyn Ramiah left Memphis on Monday determined to make "some type of difference in the world." Her destination was Israel, where she is set to begin her Master's degree program at Tel Aviv University.

A recent graduate of Emory University, with a B.A. in Middle Eastern and South Asian studies, Ramiah's year-long concentration in Israel will include soaking up the cultures.

Her ambition and talent were on display recently at a going away party at the home of her mother, Julia Ramiah, who works as a respiratory specialist at a local hospital. Her father, Shaboy Ramiah, is an upscale custom tailor. Amicably divorced, the two dote on their jewel, as did dozens of family and friends at the party that featured a cake made in the shape of Tel Aviv University.

"Initially I wanted to be a journalist, then I made a lot of friends at Emory with Middle Eastern backgrounds and I became very interested in the Arab-Jewish conflicts, so I decided that should be my starting point," said Ramiah.

She is undaunted by the recent developments in Syria.

"Nope, I'm not afraid one bit, because I want to be an agent of change and in order to do that I can't be afraid," said Ramiah.

"My main priority in life will be working towards making the Middle East a safer place and hopefully making some type of difference in the world."

Ramiah's difference-making toolset includes being a gifted Memphis-bred singer and songwriter. Among the guests at the party was Hi Records president Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell, who came to know Ramiah from her self-written independent single "Look, But Don't Touch," the cover of which served as backdrop for the cake ceremony.

Ramiah is definitely working a plan.

Challah and chicken wings, anybody?

It can happen.