May 8, 2020

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Mehvish Durrani Named Top College of Science and Mathematics Graduate at VSU

Mehvish Kiran Durrani

VALDOSTA — Mehvish Kiran Durrani of Valdosta, Georgia, is the recipient of the Spring 2020 President’s Award for Academic Excellence for the College of Science and Mathematics at Valdosta State University.

The President’s Award for Academic Excellence is presented to the graduating student with the highest grade point average in each of VSU’s six colleges — Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, College of the Arts, James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and College of Science and Mathematics.

Durrani will be recognized during VSU’s virtual 229th Commencement at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 9, at She will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and an Honors College Certificate. 

“I am so thankful to be a recipient of this prestigious award,” she said. “Being named the top graduate of my college means so much to me because of all the hard work I put in these past four years. It motivates me to do even better in my future studies.”

“In addition to this award,” she added, “I am thankful for my family, my friends, and the professors I’ve had over the years. I am where I am today because of their constant support.”

As a student at VSU, Durrani was a member of the Arabic Culture Club, where she served as president from 2018 to 2020 and vice president from 2017 to 2018; the Psi Phi Chapter of Beta Beta Beta: The National Biological Honor Society; Student Members of the American Chemical Society; and the Honors Student Association. She served others as a volunteer with South Georgia Medical Center’s Emergency Department and the university’s College Assistance Migrant Program.

Under the direction of Dr. John Barbas of the Department of Chemistry, Durrani tackled two research topics. She presented “Silica as a Medium for the Synthesis of Chiral Imines and Amines” at VSU’s 2019 Undergraduate Research Symposium, where she earned first place honors in the Department of Chemistry division and second place honors in the College of Science and Mathematics division. She presented on this same subject matter at the 70th Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Her research titled “Synthesis of Boronic Esters on Silica, Molecular Sieves, and Anhydrous Sodium Sulfate” was presented at VSU’s 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Under the direction of Dr. Jonghoon Kang of the Department of Biology, Durrani was able to share her research papers in two peer-reviewed scientific journals. “Thermodynamic Analysis of the Binding of p38 MAPK to Substrate Proteins” was published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry in January. “Enthalpy-Entropy Compensation in the Effect of Preservation Solutions on the Stability of Hepatitis C Virus” was accepted by Transplant Infectious Diseases in March.     

Durrani’s commitment to academic, service, and research excellence resulted in her earning repeated spots on the Dean’s List; the 2019 and 2020 Department of Biology Outstanding Senior Award; the 2019 Polymer Chemistry Award; the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Martha H. Barnes Award and Scholarship; the 2017 CRC Press Chemistry Achievement Award; and the 2017 W.R. and Dorothy Salter Scholarship. She was a Zell Miller Scholar. 

Durrani plans to continue her education in the fall by attending medical school. She said she hopes “to become a doctor one day so that I can practice in rural and medically underserved communities.” She is the daughter of Dost and Azra Durrani and sister of Daanish Durrani.

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