About Zayan

Zayan Shamayeen 

From an early age, Zayan Shamayeen had a passion for learning and an astute sense of duty to the community, society, and the world he lived in. Observing economic and political disparities in his home country of Bangladesh, Zayan committed his life to learning and searched for opportunities to improve the world around him.

Despite struggling with the daily effects of epilepsy, he left his home and family to study at Emory University (Class of 2018), majoring in Biology and minoring in Economics. Zayan became an outstanding student with considerable compassion for the disadvantaged. Throughout his college career, Zayan conducted research, including a study that examined the impact of family income on health outcomes. In addition to building his knowledge of the life sciences and health care systems, he made numerous contributions to the Emory community. As a founding member and president of the Bengali Association for Students at Emory, he created a community of comfort and acceptance for all, regardless of their affiliation to Bengali culture.

About the Award

The purpose of this award is to commemorate the exceptional qualities which Zayan either possessed or valued during his lifetime, and to recognize those who uplift the spirit of humanity in its many different facets. This award will provide a deserving undergraduate student who embodies these characteristics and values with an opportunity to serve their community and make a larger impact on the greater good.

To be eligible for the scholarship, the student must:

  • Have a 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Be studying or pursuing research in the natural, social, and/or public health sciences
  • Demonstrate passion for social justice and community involvement
  • Display consistent leadership and teamwork capabilities

Award Recipients

Helena Zeleke, 2021-2022 Recipient

Helena Abebaw Zeleke (‘23 C) is an undergraduate student at Emory majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and minoring in Community Building and Social Change. Outside of classes and research, Helena spends much of her time pushing forward the missions of organizations in the Clarkston area. As a Community Building and Social Change fellow, she worked with Global Growers Network, a Clarkston-based organization aimed at providing technical and physical assistance to New American growers in the area so that they can grow culturally familiar foods for themselves and for sale in local marketplaces, to help develop a training curriculum for their clients. She also serves as the Medical Assistant Coordinator for Harriet Tubman Women’s Clinic, a teaching clinic in Clarkston staffed by volunteer Emory physicians, medical students, and medical assistants that provides free gynecologic services to people who are uninsured/underinsured. She has also, with the guidance of Gina Papa (Clinic Administrator at Clarkston Community Health Center) spearheaded the Clarkston Period+ Initiative, a project focused on making the distribution of free menstrual and maternity products by Clarkston nonprofits more efficient and accessible. As a future physician, Helena hopes to take her desire to serve others into clinical settings by finding every avenue to uplift the voices of patients in the management of their own care. She hopes to bring what she’s learned through her work in Clarkston to radically change the modus operandi of Western medicine, as well as the relationship that medical institutions have with the communities they serve.