Merrill P. Freeman Medals
Qualifications include outstanding moral force of character. Additional factors which may be considered are: popularity, receipt of athletic awards, membership in organizations, service on committees and as officers. This is a medal award.
Marcos Gomez Ambriz
Marcos Gomez Ambriz, known as "Gomez," is a first-generation Mexican American student from Phoenix, Arizona. At the age of 20, his mother, Maria Teresa Ambriz, left her hometown of Michoacán, Mexico, for the United States. Maria left family, friends and a career in search of the American dream and to provide Gomez better opportunities. Growing up, Gomez learned to navigate a complex world by watching his mother work night and day to provide for her family. The first in his family to graduate from high school, Gomez never expected a college education. With the guidance of his high school counselor and advanced placement biology teacher – who both saw his potential in science, technology, engineering and math – Gomez applied to the University of Arizona. Today, Gomez is a double major Honors College student and Arizona Assurance Scholar, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in physiology and Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry.
Gomez has served the University as a chemistry and biochemistry ambassador, resident assistant in Árbol de la Vida and Honors Village, research in Dr. Andrew Capaldi’s lab, ASUA College of Medicine senator, Project Soar mentor, hospice volunteer and member of the Student Affairs Policy and Research Policy committee. Exploring his interest in sports medicine, Gomez did a sports medicine internship with FC Tucson and worked as a physical therapy technician. Gomez is currently writing his undergraduate honors thesis on elite and recreational runners participating in marathons and the effects of detraining.
While negotiating college, Gomez learned the importance of mentorship and support in order to thrive as a first-generation student. Motivated by his mother, Gomez devoted his college career to being a role model for and mentoring students like himself. Gomez has received various awards, including Chemistry and Biochemistry Student of the Month, the Silver and Sage Scholarship, the Wildcat Excellence Award and Dean’s List with Academic Distinction. He also was a member of the 2019 Homecoming Court.
Gomez is applying for a year-long internship with an orthopedic surgeon and plans to attend medical school.
Ahmad B. Shahin, a first-generation Palestinian American, is graduating summa cum laude from the Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in physiology and a minor in Arabic. As a Baird Scholar from Tucson, Ahmad has demonstrated his commitment to the underserved, the University and the greater Tucson community throughout his undergraduate experience.
Since his freshman year, Ahmad has served as a volunteer mentor and translator to refugee youths at struggling local high schools through the La Frontera Youth Mentorship Program. In 2018, he traveled to India to support rural eye clinics and record sight-restoring surgeries as an intern for a nonprofit organization. Ahmad has also conducted research on barriers to employment for homeless individuals in Tucson in partnership with Primavera Works, traveled to Dallas to support affordable housing initiatives through the Alternative Spring Breaks Program, and provided basic medical care to Tucson’s homeless population through the Workship Program.
As a pre-medical student, Ahmad found a home in the University of Arizona’s chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the national pre-health honorary. Serving over the course of three years as president, vice president and philanthropy chair, he led more than 30 philanthropic engagements, oversaw hundreds of events with his board and facilitated the group’s first-ever trip to the Alpha Epsilon Delta National Convention in Maryland. Ahmad has worked both as a medical scribe at a urology clinic and as a research assistant in May Khanna’s pharmacology lab, where he conducted research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and chronic pain. Ahmad also helps Alzheimer's and dementia patients regain lost mobility and sharpen mental acuity as an intern for the University of Arizona Elder Rehabilitation Program. Ahmad is a Center for Middle Eastern Studies Outreach Scholar, Raytheon Scholar and a top-10 finalist for University of Arizona Homecoming King.
After graduation, Ahmad will pursue a medical degree at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.