Golden Key is proud to introduce Raphael Anastassios Kirou, one of Golden Key’s 2020 Undergraduate Achievement Award winners. Raphael was born and raised in Astoria, New York by parents who immigrated from northern Greece. Raphael graduated summa cum laude in December 2020 with his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University. He majored in Biological Sciences and with a minor in Applied Economics.
“During my time at Cornell, I was a member of the laboratory of Dr. Cedric Feschotte, where I investigated the role of human endogenous retroviral proteins in immunity,” says Raphael. “In addition to my academic activities, I served on the executive boards of the Hellenic Students Association and the Orthodox Christian Fellowship as Treasurer. I also volunteered weekly at the Short Stay Surgical Unit of Cayuga Medical Center and in an assisted living facility.”
Raphael’s path at Cornell exemplifies extreme dedication to academics, leadership and service. While at Cornell, he served on the executive board for the Cornell Chapter of Golden Key, first as the Vice President of Communications and later as the President.
“I enjoyed volunteering as part of this team in the local community, by holding food drives and charity fundraisers, making holiday cards for hospital patients, and tutoring middle school students as part of the “SPARK a Change” initiative,” Raphael reminisces. “As President, I was proud to be able to work with the executive board to organize service and social events for members while also recruiting new members and making sure the chapter continued to progress after my departure.”
Raphael’s achievements don’t stop at the Undergraduate Achievement Award or chairing his Golden Key chapter; he has also received several other awards throughout his time at Cornell.
“I received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Academic Excellence Award in Biological Sciences, which is given to the top three graduating students in the major,” says Raphael. “I also received several national awards: The Panhellenic Scholarship Foundation Award in 2018 and the FAITH Scholarship for Excellence in STEM in 2018, 2019, and 2020.”
As for the next phase in Raphael’s career has chosen to continue his education and recently began medical school.
“I am immensely grateful to the Golden Key International Honour Society for selecting me for this award,” explains Raphael. “Aside from the financial support, the award also gives me the motivation to continue to succeed in the next phase of my career…Thank you to Golden Key for supporting its members to achieve their goals in life!”
Thank you for being a part of the Golden Key family Raphael, we wish you the best of luck at medical school!