Growing up in the Valley as a young Yemeni American, Maram Kiran saw firsthand how socioeconomic and language barriers affected her family’s access to quality health care. That, and a visit to Yemen, inspired her passion to bring culturally competent health care to underserved communities, meeting patients with knowledge and sensitivity specific to their cultural contexts. 

Kiran, a senior majoring in biochemistry at Fresno State, is one of 23 students chosen by the California State University (one from each campus) to receive the 2021 CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, the CSU system’s highest recognition of student achievement. She is the Trustee Emerita Claudia H. Hampton Scholar. 

“These 23 scholars wonderfully exemplify the ideals of the California State University,” said CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro. “Every year, and especially this year, our Trustees’ Award honorees demonstrate resilience, tenacity and resolve — together with a keen intellect — while making an indelible, positive impact on their families and their communities. They are truly an inspiration.”

The awardees will be recognized for their superior achievements during the Committee on Institutional Advancement portion of the CSU Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 14.

Kiran established the campus chapter of Doctors Without Borders and conducts research through the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. And as part of the Smittcamp Family Honors College, she donates time to community service. Volunteering in Kaiser’s oncology department taught her how crucial doctor-patient rapport is for health care to be effective.

After Kiran graduates in spring 2022 with her undergraduate degree, she plans to pursue a master of science in global health sciences and obtain a doctorate of medicine.

“As an aspiring physician, I am interested in both the science and community that weave together to form the field of medicine,” Kiran said. “As a Fresno native who is bilingual in Arabic and English, I am especially interested in the communities that face both language and cultural barriers when accessing health care. I want to personally expand equitable health care to not only my patients, but to everyone, and it starts from becoming a health equity advocate.” 

The Trustees’ Award is the university’s highest recognition of student achievement. Each award provides a donor-funded scholarship to students who demonstrate superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service and financial need. Awardees have all demonstrated inspirational resolve along the path to college success and many are the first in their families to attend college.

More than 400 students have been honored with the Trustees’ Award since the scholarship program was established in 1984 by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. In 1999, the Hearst Foundation partnered with the CSU Board of Trustees to supplement the endowment with contributions from CSU Trustees, CSU Foundation board members and private donors. Each student scholarship bears the name of a donor.

Visit the CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement website for bios on all 23 scholars as well as donor information.​