When asked if he was surprised to hear he would receive this years
Marion Luther Brittain Service Award at Commencement, Woodruff Scholar
and Emory College senior Tom Shane smiled. Absolutely,
he said. To be honest, I had never heard of the award before,
so I had to ask, What does that mean?
This seems the perfect response to receiving an award, established
in 1942 through a bequest from Emory alumnus M. L. Brittain, that
is given for service performed without expectation of recognition
A pre-med major in neuroscience and behavioral biology, Shane gained
field experience in both internal and emergency medicine through
Emorys house staff assistant program. While working with retinal
surgeon Daniel Martin, Shane spent two years researching the probability
of a bacterial infection resulting from the surgical insertion of
an eye implant designed by Martin to prevent blindness in AIDS patients
with cytomegalovirus retinitis, an illness that causes the
death of cells in the retinas. Winning highest honors at Emory for
his thesis, Shane presented the paper to the American Academy of
Ophthalmology before submitting it to the American Journal of
Doctors will be able to inform their patients before the
surgery that the risk of infection is not that high, Shane
said about the implications of his soon-to-be-published work. And
theyll have a better idea of how to treat their patients if
they develop the infection.
A nine-time All-American in swimming, Shane shares his enthusiasm
for his sport with the community. A co-captain of Emorys mens
swim team, he organizes recruiting, volunteering and recreational
activities. Shane created a private swimming lesson program during
his sophomore year, matching his teammates with children and adults
who need instruction.
Every summer, Shane coaches the Druid Hills Golf Club swim team
for children ages 5 through 14. He said he enjoys being part of
their development and acting as a role model.
Its always my goal to lead by example, Shane
said. I try to impart upon [children] the values that go along
with swimming like delayed gratification, setting goals and working
to achieve them, and working together as a team.
During his free time at Emory, Shane tutored students,
served on a University Senate committee on drugs and alcohol, coached
for the Special Olympics, ran a blood drive, and traveled to Korea
with Habitat for Humanity. Shane also tries to integrate volunteer
opportunities into his paid positions by, for example, teaching
a 12-year-old boy how to instruct while giving swimming lessons.
Shane, who will attend medical school in the fall, said he plans
to continue volunteering. Thats the attitude doctors
have, he said. Its a whole environment of volunteering.