During his tenure at Cornell, senior Ahmed Ahmed’s peers have recognized him as an exemplary student and as a teacher, while he also mentored underrepresented students on campus.
His efforts have paid off, as he was recently selected for a 2017 Rhodes Scholarship. The award provides two years of study at Oxford University.
Ahmed, a biological sciences major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, plans to pursue a master’s degree in organic and medicinal chemistry at Oxford. He aspires to become a physician-scientist in translational medicine, a field where advances made in the labs are fast-tracked to reach patients sooner.
“I also want to be an advocate for disadvantaged and low socio-economic students outside of the hospital,” Ahmed said. “I think physicians do an incredible job of being advocates for their patients in the hospital, and one of my goals is also to carry that outside the hospital and help the local community in that regard.”
Ahmed’s interest in organic chemistry was sparked his sophomore year when he joined the lab of Geoffrey Coates, the Tisch University Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. There he worked on organic and polymer chemistry, and developed skills in synthetic chemistry.
In 2015 Ahmed’s peers voted him the Floyd and Gerry Collins Excellence in Teaching Award and the Class of 2017 Outstanding Student Award. He has served as a mentor for Scholars Working Ambitiously to Graduate, where he mentored underrepresented students; worked with the Office of Undergraduate Biology as a student adviser, where he led the Academic Support Committee; and he volunteered as an emergency medical technician and served on the membership committee of the Cornell Emergency Medical Service.
Along with volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, Ahmed enjoys playing basketball and is fluent in Somali. He hails from Rochester, Minnesota.
Regarding the Rhodes Scholarship, Ahmed said: “It’s an incredible honor. The Rhodes Trust brings together intellectual leaders from all over the globe to make the world a better place.” He added how grateful he was for all the support he has received from professors, peers and others to make his scholarship possible.
Ahmed was one of 32 students to receive a 2017 Rhodes Scholarship out of more than 880 students who applied from 311 colleges. The scholarship was established in 1902.