The Georgia Tech Alumni Association has launched a new awards program with the announcement of 40 former Tech students who have innovated industries and positively impacted communities across the globe. More than 250 individuals were nominated by colleagues, peers, and Georgia Tech faculty this April.
Joining the 2020 Georgia Tech Alumni Association 40-under-40 honorees is Shawna Khouri, a life science entrepreneur and funder who is based in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory. Among the 10 former BME students on the inaugural list, Khouri is the only one employed at Tech.
As co-founder of medical device company TendoNova and managing director of Biolocity at Emory and Georgia Tech, Khouri is being recognized for catalyzing and growing Atlanta’s start-up ecosystem. And she’s got some remarkable company in the program’s inaugural year, including four-time Olympian (and breast cancer survivor) Chaunté Lowe; and the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, Joy Buolamwini (one of Khouri’s freshman dorm-mates), whose research on algorithmic bias in artificial intelligence (AI) has led to policy and industry changes in addressing AI harms; and Maithili Appalwar, who founded Avana to address the alarming rate of suicides among farmers in Yavatmal, a district in Maharashtra, India by working with more than 10,000 farmers to conserve more than 50 billion liters of water.
“Being included with such an impressive list of peers is simply humbling,” says Khouri, who earned her BME undergraduae degree in 2012 and her Master of Biomedical Innovation and Development (a Coulter Department program) in 2014. “My training through the biomedical engineering program at Georgia Tech provided me with the critical problem solving skills that have helped me succeed personally and professionally.”
She adds, “as managing director of Biolocity at Emory and Georgia Tech, I’ve come to appreciate the Coulter Department’s culture of collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship.”
Honorees must have completed at least one semester at Georgia Tech, be under the age of 40 as of June 30, 2020, and have made an impact in their profession or community, spanning all industries and sectors. Georgia Tech Alumni Association President Dene Sheheane said he was amazed, “by the accomplishments of these innovators and trendsetters. They epitomize the focus that our Georgia Tech alumni have to make the world a better place.”
A selection committee comprised of 26 faculty, staff, and volunteer leaders, collectively representing all of Georgia Tech colleges was charged with whittling down the large list of first-year nominees.
“I was blown away at the nearly impossible task of scoring the applicants,” says selection committee member, Georgia State Representative Bert Reeves, who graduated from Georgia with honors in 2000 (B.S. in management).
“These are folks who are not just impacting their community and state, but in some cases, their country and the entire world,” Reeves adds. “It is truly inspiring to see the innovation and passion that our alumni are contributing to many of the greatest issues our world faces today.”
A number of other former BME students also made the list, though Khouri is the only one who works at Georgia Tech. The others are Ingnacio Montoya (executive director, HINRI Labs), Chris Hermann (founder/CEO of Clean Hands-Safe Hands), Arnad Chakraborty (chief technology officer, co-founder, FlowMedTech International), Kamil Makhnejia (co-founder/COO, Jackson Medical), Idicula Mathew (CEO/founder, Hera Health Solutions), Chris Lee (founder, Woodbridge Foundation; chairman/CEO, Huxley Medical), Allen Chang (project engineer, NuVasive), David Sotto (senior strategy officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), and Lauren Troxler (clinical engineer, Abbott). A complete list of all 40 honorees is available here.
About the Georgia Tech Alumni Association
The Georgia Tech Alumni Association, chartered in 1908, is an exclusive network of more than 172,000 worldwide tied together by their experience at Georgia Tech. Through the Association, Tech alumni gain immediate access to its extensive, global alumni network, as well as numerous alumni programs and services designed to enrich both careers and lives. The Georgia Tech Alumni Association is a participation-driven non-profit corporation governed by a board of alumni volunteers. Since 1947, the Association’s Roll Call program has raised money to financially support Tech’s academic mission.