Daniel grad named ‘Harvard Hero’

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Daniel High School alumna Rupal Shah was honored to earn the Harvard Heroes Award on June 5 at Harvard University.
Originally from Tanzania, East Africa, Shah, along with her brother, sister and parents, relocated to Clemson during her senior year of high school, where she graduated from Daniel in 2000. After graduation, Shah attended Southern Wesleyan University, where she earned two degrees — a BS in Biology and a BA in Chemistry in May 2004.
Deciding to further her education, Shah embarked on course work for her graduate degree at Clemson University. She graduated from Clemson University in August 2007 with an MS in Microbiology.
Immediately after graduation, Shah decided to leave the warmth of the south, moving to Massachusetts and entering into Harvard University’s School of Public Health to conduct research on Tuberculosis as a research assistant. For the last four and a half years, Shah has been working as a laboratory manager for a Tuberculosis lab in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard University.
On June 5, Shah was one of three recipients from Harvard’s School of Public Health to earn the Harvard Heroes Award. Shah’s mother and sister were able to make the trip up north for her prestigious honor.
“I am honored to have received this award, which is the highest award given to a staff member at the university,” said Shah. “As I receive this award, I am thankful to all the people who have always guided and encouraged me, especially my mentors and professors at Harvard University, Clemson University and Southern Wesleyan University.”
Harvard Heroes is a university-wide employee recognition program which is designed to recognize “above and beyond” achievements among Harvard’s high-performing staff, as well as their many contributions to the university.
Nominated by her laboratory mates and colleagues from the School of Public Health, Shah and two other “heroes” were selected to receive the Harvard Heroes Award. The award ceremony took place on June 5 at Harvard University’s Memorial Hall, and the award was announced by Drew Faust, President of the university.
As he presented her with the Harvard Heroes Award, Faust said: “Rupal Shah, your passion for excellence shows in all you do, from ordering lab supplies to teaching best practices in handling dangerous pathogens. Your warmth and deep concern for others are infectious too. You cultivate relationships and tuberculosis bacilli with equal care. You carry a superhuman workload and volunteer at home and abroad. If caring is contagious, then the whole world is a better place for having you here.”
Shah’s next goal is to attend medical school. She is still in the planning stages and, in addition to her work, stays busy studying for exams and researching programs.
“I hope to start medical school this fall or the next,” she said. “The Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston is my dream school. There are many times I miss my home in Clemson, especially in the winter.”