TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 4, 2018) — The University of South Florida Alumni Association has named three Outstanding Graduates for the Fall 2018 Commencement ceremonies, one for each regional institution of the USF System. Outstanding Graduates embody leadership, school spirit, academic excellence, community involvement and a love for USF.
The following honorees will be recognized at USF Commencement ceremonies at their respective institutions Dec. 7-10.
Shahriar “Shawn” Zamani, BS Public Health, USF Tampa
Passionate about improving lives through research, policy and philanthropy, Shawn Zamani has excelled academically while also serving as a student leader. Zamani, who immigrated to the United States from Iran in 2012, will graduate with an overall 3.97 GPA and plans to pursue graduate studies in epidemiology. He’s the director of public health for the USF Health BRIDGE Healthcare Clinic, a student-driven free clinic for uninsured community members; a senior research assistant at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute; president of the Undergraduate Public Health Student Association; member of the Executive Student Leadership Board; and a committee co-chair for the American Public Health Association. He also mentors first-generation Hillsborough Community College freshmen. His numerous awards include the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award for his Honors College thesis. An Amgen Scholars Program participant, Zamani spent the summer of 2018 researching esophageal cancer epidemiology at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md. Along with graduation, he celebrates becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen this year.
Stephanie Benmergui, BS Biology, USF St. Petersburg
An aspiring physician whose degree includes a concentration in biomedical sciences and a minor in chemistry, Stephanie Benmergui has also been a committed volunteer for myriad charities and a campus leader of academic and recreational groups. She’ll graduate with a 3.94 GPA and plans to conduct research before applying to medical school. Benmergui is president of USFSP’s Pre-Med Club; vice president of Global Medical and Dental Brigades; and president of the USFSP Rocky Rollers roller-skating club. Much of her work, both paid and volunteer, includes helping other students, including her peers, hospitalized children, and children and young adults with special needs. She’s a tutor at the Debbie Nye Student Success Center and was a mentor for the now disbanded Project 10 Stingray program, a university-based academic opportunity for students with intellectual disabilities. She’s also an entrepreneur; she launched Living Water Handcraft Creations, a company that produces bags and pouches, and donates a portion of profits to charities.
Julia Groom, BA Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, USF Sarasota-Manatee
As a student government leader involved in numerous campus organizations, Julia Groom has worked to ensure all students feel the embrace of inclusion at USFSM. Those efforts included co-authoring and passing a resolution that states USFSM’s support of all students, regardless of immigration status, following her participation in an Alternative Spring Break focused on exploring immigration issues in New Mexico and Texas. Groom will graduate with a 3.88 GPA and the skills necessary to juggle challenging classes with extra-curricular activities and a part-time job. She recently accepted a position at a Sarasota philanthropic organization. Groom immigrated to the United States as a fourth-grader from Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, a Pacific U.S. territory. At USFSM, she worked her way through the ranks of student government, eventually becoming vice president. She’s also president and a founding member of The Global Society, a club that promotes diversity, inclusion and cultural appreciation. She has served as a USF Ambassador since 2017, representing USF on campus and in the community.
About the USF Alumni Association
The USF Alumni Association is a nonprofit organization composed of former students and friends of the University of South Florida. Our mission is to provide meaningful ways for USF Bulls to support, protect and promote their university. There are more than 335,000 USF graduates worldwide. For more information, log on to www.usfalumni.org, like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/USFalumni or follow us on Twitter @USFAlumniAssn.