Summer 2008: Emory’s 163rd Commencement

Zain Ahmed

Zain Ahmed

Kay Hinton

Living His Ideals

From the lab to the library, Brittain winner Zain Ahmed exemplifies engaged scholarship

By Beverly Clark

Whether in the lab working on organ transplant research, developing programs for an international nonprofit, or tutoring local high school students, Zain Ahmed 08C didn’t waste a minute of his time at Emory. His tireless energy earned him Emory’s highest student honor, the Marion Luther Brittain Award, presented each year at Commencement to a graduate who has demonstrated exemplary service to both the University and the greater community without expectation of recognition. Candidates are required to demonstrate a strong character, meritorious service, and a sense of integrity. Ahmed, a political science and neuroscience and behavioral biology major (who also completed requirements for a degree in chemistry), was a member of the Emory Scholars Program. He completed his honors thesis this spring in transplantation immunology.

A 2007 Emory Community Building and Social Change fellow, Ahmed is focused on tackling issues related to health and education. “I consider them to be basic human rights that are both integral and related to other complex issues in the world,” Ahmed says. “It is very difficult for me to see others undergoing preventable hardships.”

Ahmed founded Global Health, Education, Empowerment, and Development (HEED) in 2006. The nonprofit engages students from universities around the country to work with local organizations and communities in developing nations to address issues related to health, education, and economic development. Ahmed will stay at Emory next year and continue his research full time at the Emory Transplant Center and travel to Guatemala throughout the year to implement HEED’s various initiatives. He also plans to apply to joint programs in medicine, research, and public health next year to earn a medical degree and a doctorate.

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