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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

South Florida: Recent Graduate One of 34 in Nation to Receive International Scholarship

Recent University of South Florida graduate Mr. Shawn Zamani is one of a select few from around the country named a Gates Cambridge Scholar for 2019, earning a scholarship for post-graduate studies at the University of Cambridge.

Mr. Zamani is one of only 34 U.S. students to earn the honor this year and only the second USF student ever to win a Gates Cambridge award, one of the most prestigious international scholarships in the world. The full class of scholars were announced on Thursday.

“I am thrilled to study at Cambridge alongside fellow Gates-Cambridge Scholars, all of whom are from such a diverse mix of cultures and backgrounds,” Mr. Zamani said. “It’s a unique and incredible opportunity to work with so many talented students who all share a mission of improving lives around the world.”

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the scholarship is for intellectually outstanding students who have a capacity for leadership and a commitment to improving the lives of others.

Mr. Zamani’s achievement is even more remarkable considering he emigrated with his family to America from Iran in 2012 knowing little English. He entered classes at Gaither High School once arriving in Tampa.

“I learned the language through immersion,” he said. “It was sink or swim.”

After earning an associate’s degree with a 4.0 GPA from Hillsborough Community College, Zamani transferred to USF in 2016 thanks to a Jack Kent Cook Scholarship. This award is the nation’s only prestigious transfer scholarship and provides funding and support for top community college students seeking to complete their bachelor’s degrees at selective four-year colleges or universities.

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