Retired professor encourages giving back

Dr. Kamla Shah (from left), Sophie Lemon, Dr. Rebecca Rule and Brie Brown at the GHSU tea for recipients of the Shah Foundation scholarship.

Brie Cantrell was determined to go to nursing school, but when her father died five years ago, she wasn’t sure how she would finance her education.

Alison Ryan works three part-time jobs to put herself through the Georgia Health Sciences University occupational therapy program.

Devon Williams, another occupational therapy student, thought she might run out of HOPE Scholarship support before she could finish her program.

These students, along with nursing student Sofronia “Sophie” Lemon, medical students Amanda MacGregor and Laura Harrison and allied health sciences student Glory Perkins, found their struggles eased by scholarships from The Shah Foundation, created by Dr. Kamla Shah.

Shah, a retired Georgia Health Sciences University Professor of Radiology, found out what it was like to struggle to pay for an
education when she finished medical school in her native India and left for a residency in internal medicine in England.

“When I got to London, it was so cold I had to ask my brother for some money to buy a warm coat,” she said.

Shah created what would eventually become The Shah Foundation by socking away 8-10 percent of her annual income during a 10-year period. Investment income from the foundation’s principle funds several scholarships each year to motivated students with good grades who demonstrate financial need.

“When you do well, help somebody else,” she said. “It’s important for people to help each other, but also to keep that feeling of doing good.”

The scholarship recipients have shared with her how her generosity is helping them reach their goals, but Shah said fostering a philanthropic spirit in the recipients is greater than any thanks she can receive.

“I don’t want the students who receive the scholarships to be grateful. I want them to continue giving,” she said. “Not just financial. They can help in so many ways.”

Dr. Rebecca Rule, Director of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, agrees, and hopes Shah continues to inspire students. “Hopefully, this will give these young professionals-to-be an example to follow and show them an opportunity to pay it forward,” she said.

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