UAB freshman pre-med student Shi recognized as a 2022 Presidential Scholar

Shi, an Honors College and pre-med student at UAB, has been recognized by the President of the United States as a 2022 Presidential Scholar.

University of Alabama at BirminghamStream James Shi 4 freshman James Shi of Vestavia Hills, Alabama, a graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts, has been named a 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar in its 58th class, an achievement directed by Presidential Executive Order.

With only 161 students recognized of more than 5,000 qualifying candidates – one man and one woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and U.S. families living abroad are selected as scholars by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. Scholars are based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as a demonstrated commitment to community service and leadership.

“It was really exciting to be named Alabama’s only male Presidential Scholar,” Shi said. “It’s a tremendous honor and something that I am proud to carry.”

An accomplished student in high school and involved in his community – aspects that Shi attributes to his naming as Alabama’s lone male Presidential Scholar – Shi joins UAB as an Honors College student with a neuroscience major and a chemistry minor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Being named a Presidential Scholar is highly competitive and a testament to James’ character as one of only three recognized students from Alabama,” Pam Benoit, Ph.D., UAB senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost. “His recognition as a Presidential Scholar exemplifies the caliber of student and community steward that he is, and we’re pleased that he has chosen to complete his academic career here at UAB.”

In addition, Shi is part of UAB’s Early Medical School Acceptance Program, with hopes of attending the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine to become a neurooncologist in the future. He has immersed himself in basic research working in Rui Zhao’s, Ph.D., laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, as well as currently with Ryan Miller, M.D., Ph.D., in his laboratory in the Division of Neuropathology in the Department of Pathology.

“My interest in medicine – cancer, specifically – stems from childhood; I had a friend pass away from a brain tumor and it inspired me to go into neuroscience,” Shi said. “I’ve conducted research and worked in labs here at UAB already with , which has really affirmed my interest in the neuro-oncology space. Being at UAB and having such close proximity to the medical campus was attractive to me, and I am excited about the opportunities ahead of me as I continue my coursework and collegiate experience as a Blazer.”