Science driven

Wright State biological science major Rahul Shah keeps reaching numerous mileposts in his academic and personal journey

Biological sciences major Rahul Shah serves on the university’s Board of Trustees, is a member of several student organizations and is actively involved in research at Wright State.

To say that Rahul Shah likes science is an understatement. “I was the kid who would watch science documentaries,” he recalled. “I was always geared toward science.”

To say that Rahul Shah is involved in Wright State University is an understatement. He’s wrapping up a term as a student trustee on the university’s Board of Trustees and is more than a tutor — he’s a tutor of tutors.

To say that Rahul Shah is humble is an understatement — he’s soft-spoken and shy.

But to say he’s driven to help others is spot-on.

Shah is on course to graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the College of Science and Mathematics and a minor in business from the Raj Soin College of Business.

He plans to further his education by pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical science, which would be the latest milepost in his life’s journey.

Shah was born in India and moved to Tennessee with his family when was 4. In 2011, the Shahs settled in Beavercreek, where he went to high school. After graduation, there was little doubt about where he would enroll.

“I have two older sisters, and they had chosen Wright State,” he said.

He heard about their experiences and about the opportunities they had, and he took classes at Wright State as a high school senior.

“I found the professors to be not intimidating and super supportive,” he said.

So, Wright State it was.

Shah credits Shulin Ju, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences and his supportive honors research project principal investigator, for stoking his interest in the biomedical field.

Shah’s goal is to conduct research in a laboratory setting. “I like anything hands-on, analyzing, discovering new things toward cures for genetic diseases,” he said.

While Shah applied to Wright State’s Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program, he continues to apply himself to other aspects of the university. For one, he is wrapping up a two-year term on Wright State’s Board of Trustees.

“It’s a great experience, getting a wide variety of perspectives from administrators, trustees, faculty, staff and students,” he said.

For another, he is deeply involved with tutoring. He has tutored students in introductory biology and business — on the strength of his minor, which he said, while not directly related to biological studies, is valuable to understand the health care system.

“I think a business background can be utilized in any field,” he said.

Shah has done so well that he is moving up the tutoring ladder.

“This past semester I was fortunate to get the opportunity to work with the Tutoring Services staff in managerial duties and developing resources for all tutors to use – how Tutoring Services can become better and help students academically succeed,” he said. “It’s been fun tutoring these past three years.”

His studies and tutoring are done amid his other activities. He is a member of the Graduate and Honors Student Advisory Board and the College of Science and Mathematics Dean’s Circle and serves as treasurer of the Indian Student Association and the Pre-Health Society and as president of the C.J. McLin Jr. Scholars Association.

“These have been great opportunities,” he said. “If I had chosen a larger university, I wouldn’t have had these opportunities. Wright State is the right size to connect with people.”

Part of that people connection has brought Shah somewhat out of his shell.

“I’m shy and soft-spoken. Wright State has been helping me with that, developing me to be more open and free to speak, being more confident in myself,” he said.

These traits come in handy when he, as he often does, makes presentations to student groups, classes and board meetings.

Shah credits Wright State’s atmosphere for helping him develop.

“The professors make it so we can relax and not worry about being wrong. That helps and calms me,” he said. “Having more experiences helps me in public speaking.”

His mentor Ju describes Shaw as mature and one of the hardest-working students he has ever trained.

“It is amazing to see that he balances extracurricular activities, studies in the classroom and research in the lab and manages all of them so well,” Ju said. “Rahul is a wonderful student that every lab wishes to have. He is a good listener, a deep thinker and a timely executor. It is so easy to mentor him.”

After earning his Ph.D., Shah wants to work in molecular genetic research and do so right here. He said this area, with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Wright State, is ideal.

“I plan to stay in the Dayton area and make a positive change in the community,” he said.

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