CLEMSON — Kirin Khan of Central, a graduate of Clemson University’s biochemistry and genetics programs, has been awarded the 2016 Marcus L. Urann Fellowship by Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society.

Kirin Khan

Kirin Khan

“The Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship is the flagship award offered by Phi Kappa Phi and is highly competitive,” said Alumni Distinguished Professor of psychology June J. Pilcher, president of Clemson’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter. “Each university can only forward one application to the national-level competition, which means that there is a local competition first and then the national-level competition. Phi Kappa Phi awards only 51 Fellowships of $5,000 each and six Urann Fellowships at $15,000 each nationwide each year. It really is very impressive that Kirin was chosen at the national level as a Urann Fellow for 2016-2017.”

As a child, Khan and her family emigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan and on return trips to the country she witnessed the challenges women can face in pursuing educational and career goals, inspiring her to work harder and reach higher in her own academic career. She threw herself into science courses, medical-shadowing, tutoring and other activities as she explored a medical career. Khan completed a dual-degree program in biochemistry and genetics as an undergraduate at Clemson.

“It is a huge honor and very humbling to be included as one of this year’s winners,” said Khan. “I’ve always had dreams of developing the medical skills that will allow me to help people achieve their best health and, therefore, be more empowered to thrive and live more meaningfully and purposefully.”

Khan will attend the Duke University School of Medicine with the goal of becoming a primary care doctor.

“Kirin is an amazing young woman that I’ve had the pleasure of watching grow up since elementary school,” said Christine Minor, Clemson senior lecturer in biological sciences. “My first recollections are of her as part of my own daughter’s Math Counts team along with her older brother. Kirin was so focused and confidant that she would often match or outscore the older kids. At Clemson she’s been an exemplary student, advancing science via research and publication, excelling in coursework and contributing to the Clemson community. I can’t think of a more deserving student of this award.”

Khan plans to utilize her unique background to broaden her impact as a physician.

“Because of my diverse upbringing, my dream has extended to working with people both locally and abroad,” said Khan. “This scholarship has provided me with the extra encouragement and motivation necessary to pursue these dreams in full force at a school with excellent medical and global health programs. I’m really looking forward to studying at Duke and can’t thank everyone enough who helped me reach this point.”

The selection process for the Phi Kappa Phi Fellowships is based on the applicants’ evidence of graduate potential, undergraduate academic achievement, service and leadership experience, letters of recommendation, a personal statement of educational perspective and career goals, and acceptance at an approved graduate or professional program.

Khan is part of a strong Clemson family. Her mother, Nighat Yasmin, is a senior lecturer in the general engineering department, and her father, Abdul, is a professor of civil engineering.

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