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Alumni Awards

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Zainab Ghadiyali ‘09

Zainab Ghadiyali ‘09

Winthrop University recognizes young alumni, age 35 or younger, whose service to the University, service to the community and professional achievements have reflected positively on all alumni and the University. This year’s recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Young Alumni Award is Zainab Ghadiyali.

She moved to the United States by herself at the age of 19 with only $107 to her name. Since then, Ghadiyali has supported herself through college and graduate school, earning degrees in chemistry, industrial engineering and computer science.

After earning her B.S. in chemistry at Winthrop, the Mumbai native went on to build one of the most profitable business models for the non-profit, Foundation of Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC), to provide free pediatric care to children below the age of 5 living in low income neighborhoods. She then enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she obtained M.SC degrees in Industrial Engineering and Computer Science graduate programs.

While at Winthrop, Ghadiyali became the first Winthrop student to be awarded the prestigious Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (German Academic Exchange Service) fellowship. Through this fellowship, she worked in Berlin at the largest university hospital in Europe conducting research in Psychosomatic Medicine. Her work has been published in several scientific journals.

Ghadiyali has since co-founded the award-winning non-profit wogrammer, which reaches more than two million people and is changing the way stories are told about women by highlighting the technical accomplishments of women in engineering.

As a Tech Lead at Facebook, Ghadiyali built products that are used by more than 1.5 billion people. She is currently a Product Manager at Airbnb where she leads several of the company’s key product infrastructure initiatives. For her work in bridging the gender gap in technology, Ghadiyali was listed by Foreign Policy magazine among the Top 100 Global thinkers of 2015.

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