Ahmed, who is double-majoring in finance and economics and minoring in public health, is one of only 62 recipients nationwide selected by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation; he is the only recipient from the state of Alabama.
“This is a tremendous honor for Azeem and for Auburn University,” said Jay Gogue, Auburn University president. “He has been a champion in Auburn’s War on Hunger and for many other worthwhile causes, both locally and abroad. He is a remarkable student.”
Ahmed is vice president of the university’s Committee of 19, a group dedicated to fighting world hunger; director of operations for the Campus Kitchen Project; a past vice president of the Honors Congress; a Community and Civic Engagement Undergraduate Fellow; and a lifetime member of the American Red Cross and past president of its Auburn University chapter.
“I am incredibly honored to be named a Truman Scholar,” Ahmed said. “I am so thankful to my family, professors, the Honors College staff and to everyone who assisted me in the practice interview sessions.”
Created in 1975 by an act of Congress, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship is awarded to select college juniors on the basis of four criteria: service on campus and in the community, commitment to a career in public service, communication ability and aptitude to be a “change agent,” and academic talent that would assure acceptance to a first-rate graduate school.
Scholars receive $30,000 toward their post-graduate education. In addition, they participate in leadership development programs and have opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government. Ahmed will travel to Liberty, Mo., in May to attend the Truman Scholars Leadership Week.
“Through his leadership in Campus Kitchens, the organization now serves over 1,200 meals a month in the community and has just started serving on campus,” said Harriet Giles, director of external relations for the College of Human Sciences. “He has collaborated with other student leaders and university administrators to open and run a much-needed, on-campus food pantry.”
Ahmed grew up in Auburn and began his undergraduate studies in 2009 at Auburn University as a dual-enrolled high school student. In high school he was the National Youth Ambassador for the March of Dimes.
In 2011 he traveled to Egypt as a World Food Programme health and nutrition summer intern and helped develop a national food program. He conducted more than 40 field visits and certified enough mills to produce 250,000 tons of vitamin-enriched rice. In 2012 he traveled to Bangladesh to work with the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research. He helped create protocol for pediatric sepsis management, shadowed physicians and assisted with emergency triage of cholera victims.
“The first time I met Azeem I knew he was special,” said Paula Bobrowski, associate dean for research in the College of Liberal Arts, who led practice interview sessions for Ahmed. “He has a kind heart, great intellect and a wealth of enthusiasm. He simply shines and is destined to do great things that will help the less fortunate of this world.”
“Azeem’s clear commitment to servant leadership, solid grade point average and glowing letters of support made for a strong application,” added Paul Harris, associate director of the Honors College. “It is extremely gratifying to see someone with as much promise as Azeem Ahmed receive this recognition.”