The Walter G. Harrison scholarship is a statewide award from Georgia EMC. The selection committee chooses students based on grades and test scores, extracurricular involvement, and financial need.
There are 41 electrical cooperatives in Georgia. Graduating Seniors apply to their local cooperative, but Georgia EMC only chooses 11 students each year to receive this award.
Zahraw Shah was one of those students.
“My family was like, ‘Oh my gosh, yay’,” said Shah.
Shah is a Senior at Northgate High School. She is finishing up four Advanced Placement classes. Usually students only take two AP classes per semester. “They made my parents sign off,” said Shah.
Shah is the youngest child in her family. Her sister won a Melissa Segars scholarship from CFEMC in 2015. Her brother is studying Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech. “His career inspired me,” she said
Curious about medicine, Shah began to volunteer at Piedmont Newnan hospital.
In her first year as a volunteer, she worked to improve intra-hospital transport procedures. Her second year as a volunteer stirred up a desire to enter the medical field. Shah interned with surgical services and observed surgical procedures. “I couldn’t believe it,” she of witnessing a surgery for the first time.
However, Shah isn’t sure she wants to be the one with the scalpel in hand. At this point, Shah wants to be an anesthesiologist. “I see myself as a doctor with a family,” she said. Anesthesiology, said Shah, will allow her to have more time for a social life and family.
Shah got her acceptance letter from Georgia Tech, and she plans on majoring in biochemistry before going to medical school. “I just want to dive in,” she said.
When Shah isn’t in class or studying for her AP exams, you might find her reading one of Tahereh Mafi’s “Shatter Me” books. “There’s action, there’s romance, there’s everything in those books,” she said.
“I always hang out in the library, and I love the librarians,” she said. So much so that “I got into Future Georgia Educators because of the librarians.” As a part of the group, Shah read for Canongate Elementary School students. “That was really cute. It’s amazing how much they loved it,” she said.
Shah spends time watching her favorite shows. “The longer the series, the better,” she said. “I’m into Scandal. I watched House and anything I find on Netflix,” she said.
Community is important to Shah. She is an active member of Newnan Youth Council. She says the council wants Newnan to be a home for everyone, including young people like Shah who plan to leave for college. “They’re letting kids know that Newnan is an amazing place,” she said.
Through Newnan Youth Council, Shah has fundraised, sat on committees, and helped with improvement projects around Newnan. She even traveled to the National League of Cities in North Carolina to meet with other Youth Councils. “We’ve also gone to the state capital and met Governor Nathan Deal,” she said.
“I’ve been all over Georgia,” Shah said. But no matter where she moves after college, one thing is certain: “I would like to have input in the place I live,” she said.
After finishing her courses and taking her Advanced Placement exams, Shah’s summer plans consist of relaxing before starting at Georgia Tech. She said, “I’m looking forward to graduating and having that gap with no summer work. I’m excited about a fresh start.”
Coweta-Fayette EMC is proud to have Zahraw Shah as a 2018 Walter G. Harrison scholarship winner. We wish her all the best on her educational journey and beyond.