FHS student receives Wayne Med-Direct scholarship
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Just like any child, Zunaira Imran had thoughts and dreams about her future.

“Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a doctor,” said Zunaira, who is now 17 and a senior at Franklin High School. “But, then it fluctuated and I wanted to be teacher, and then an ice cream truck driver.”

That was then. This is now.

Zunaira’s college and career path is clear – thanks to an eight-year college scholarship called Wayne Med-Direct, a unique program that guarantees admission to Wayne State’s School of Medicine and Irivn D. Reid Honors College for 10 students per year.

Wayne Med-Direct emphasizes mentoring and research by giving participants the opportunity to become part of the School of Medicine community during their undergraduate studies. 

The scholarship will cover her bachelor’s and four years for Wayne State’s medical school. Room and board, books, testing fees and even meal plans are all included in the undergrad portion of the scholarship.

To be considered, Zunaira had to be a U.S. citizen with a minimum grade point average of 3.5, a minimum score of 1340 on the SAT or 30 on the ACT. She submitted three letters of recommendation, three essays, her high school transcripts and was interviewed by the dean of the Wayne State University Honors College.

Her goal is to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry or biological sciences before studying to become a neurosurgeon and a researcher whose focus is finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.

“My grandma suffered from Alzheimer’s and she passed away from it,” said Zunaira.

Her grandmother’s passing affected her deeply.

“You build up memories throughout your entire life, then, you don’t even know your family… you lose everything,” she said, quietly.

She hopes to play a role in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.

 “I am very hopeful,” she said. “I’m not that naïve that I will personally find a cure, but I do think I can help develop a lot of research to help find a cure.”

Zunaira’s dad, Mohammad Imran Sheikh is a doctor, and she is inspired by this.

“My dad is a doctor and I’ve always known that I want to help people – I’ve seen what my dad has done and I wanted to do that, too,” she said.

Seeing his daughter pursue this career path is fulfilling.

"Since Zunaira was born, it was my dream that she would receive a good education and that I would get to see her as a phenomenal doctor,” said her father. “Now that Zunaira has gotten accepted into Med-Direct, I can see that she will be walking on the path I had dreamed up for her."

Her mother, Aisha Nazir, her father and her two sisters, Linta, age 13, and Eshal, age 7, are very proud of her accomplishments, thus far, and for receiving such a valuable scholarship.

"I'm very glad that my kids are attending schools that provide such a welcoming atmosphere and are part of a great community,” said her mother. “I feel as if this isn't just an achievement for my kids, but also an achievement for me. I'm very proud of my daughter and I hope that my kids can do something to give back to their community and their country." 

‘Over-joyed’

Zunaira said she was notified that she received the Med-Direct scholarship while she was in class at Franklin.

“I was taking a math test and I saw the texts coming in, but I didn’t want to look,” she said, smiling.

She finally read the messages that indicated she was selected.

“I was in shock,” she said. “Everybody was over-joyed. It still hasn’t completely sunk in, yet.”

She thanks a few Livonia Public Schools educators who have had a particularly positive influence on her through the years: FHS Science Teacher Mary Beth Klawender; FHS Assistant Principal John DiPonio; FHS Math Teacher Terri Bennett and IB and Language Arts Teacher Sunshine Weber. Retired Roosevelt Elementary Secretary Esther Sanabria also wrote a letter of recommendation.

“I’m really lucky to have such a great support group,” said Zunaira.

When Zunaira is not focusing on her studies (she maintains a 4.6 weighted GPA and a semester weighted GPA of 5.0, meaning she has done well in her Advanced Placement courses at Franklin), she enjoys volunteering at Roosevelt Elementary, participating on the FHS Quiz Bowl team, reading and spending time with her younger sisters.

She speaks two Pakistani native languages, Urdu and Punjabi, and she spent nine years living in Pakistan as a young child. She attended an English speaking school, so she was able to keep her native English language strong while she lived in Pakistan with her family.

Her family moved into Livonia when she was in seventh grade. She said Livonia Public Schools has been great for her, and for her sisters as well.

“I like the atmosphere here,” she said. “I’ve definitely been challenged by all of my AP classes, but in the long run, it will be worth it.” 

 

Zunaira Imran

Zunaira Imran

Zunaira Imran