February 28, 2006

Case students take honorable mention to Join USA Today's All-American Academic Team

Two Case Western Reserve University seniors are among some of the brightest students in America and singled out for their outstanding academic careers and contributions to their schools and communities.

Raymond Choi of Holland, Ohio, and Sunjay Mathur, of Highland Heights, Ohio, have been named honorable mention members of the 2006 All-USA College Academic Team, sponsored by USA Today.

Choi, a senior majoring in chemistry with a minor in Asian studies and biology, and Mathur, a senior majoring in religion and in his first year of medical school through Case's pre-professional scholars program, share a desire to improve public health through careers in medicine. Both will graduate in May.

More about Raymond Choi

Seeing first-hand the need for public health initiatives while on a trip to Belize during his first year at Case, Choi returned to campus to establish the Global Medical Initiative (GMI)—a student group that aids and ships medical supplies donated by Cleveland area doctors to developing countries.

"I witnessed how easily curable diseases such as the common cold, anemia, worms and infections plague the Belizeans. It helped me to see the practice of medicine on a level beyond that of the interaction between physician and patients," said Choi.

He added that, "the practice of medicine holds greater opportunities to improve health on a grand scale."

Once he graduates, Choi said he hopes to educate students to carry on the GMI project he started two years ago.

As a campus organizer, Choi spearheaded a fund-raising effort with 30 campus organizations to raise over $8,000 for tsunami relief.

He is currently co-organizing, with Case student Rein Lambrecht, a medical mission for 10 students to Guyana.

Beside his volunteer efforts, Choi has undertaken medical science research related to Alzheimer's disease in the neuropathology lab of Mark Smith at the medical school and in neurochemistry with Michael Zagorski in the department of chemistry. He also did neuro-oncology research at the National Institutes of Health with John Park.

In his free time, he is an avid rock climber and table tennis player.

Choi founded Case's table tennis team and recruited the former Olympic coach of Tajikstan to coach the team. The team now competes in the Midwest Division of the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association.

In addition to the USA Today academic team, Choi has been recognized as a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar in science, a Joseph S. Silber Fellow, a Trustee Scholar and a two-time honoree of Phi Beta Kappa research grants. He also is a finalist for a Fulbright Scholarship to study at Oxford University.

Sunjay Mathur's contributions

Mathur, who is also a member of the 2005 USA Today academic team, is on his way to earning his medical degree and becoming a public health advocate.

Travel to India, England and Europe allowed Mathur to meet people from diverse walks of life and learn about different cultures of the past and present. "My decision to enter medicine is, in part, a decision to support communities and their members in a meaningful way," he said.

While at Case, Mathur has been an intern at the Cleveland Clinic; a researcher for a study on cancer disparity for the Center for Science, Health and Society; and research assistant for the department of genetics at Case and for the department of ophthalmology at University Hospitals of Cleveland.

While maintaining Dean's High Honors grades, he has volunteered with MedWish International; the Free Clinic of Cleveland; the Cleveland Eye Clinic through activities with the Leo Club at Case; and Community Hiring Hall in Cleveland, helping inner city day laborers.

He also founded the Journal Distribution Project with the guidance of Robert Friedland, professor of neurology and chief of Laboratory of Neurogeriatrics at the Case medical school. He collects medical journals from area doctors and researchers and redistributes them in developing countries.

"I've turned wasted clinical medical journals into a way to improve public health around the world," he said. The organization includes many students now participating in the distribution of journals to such countries as South Africa, Jordan and Iraq.

Mathur's excellence in academics has earned him several honors. He was a finalist for the Truman Scholarship (2005), was named a Morris K. Udall Scholar (2004), and was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa Prize for best academic record for three dufferent semesters (2004).

During his third year at Case, Mathur studied at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.

At Oxford, he organized and served as finance director for BOSO, the United Kingdom's first online, free student marketplace in England. BOSO's connection with students in Oxford's 40 different colleges and halls met student's needs for books, clothes, electronics and other items associated with college life, while bringing down student costs for attending college. He also served as co-production editor of The Cherwell, Oxford's independent student newspaper.

Aside from his studies, Mathur enjoys singing Indian songs in Hindi—a language he fluently speaks—recording music CDs and learning to play the guitar.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, February 28, 2006 05:29 PM | News Topics: Community Outreach, Healthcare, School of Medicine

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