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Emory alum receives Omicron Delta Kappa graduate scholarship

Alex Greven, who graduated from Emory College in 2013, has been honored with a graduate scholarship from national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. He will apply the award toward completing his MBA at Goizueta Business School.

Alex Greven arrived at Emory University as an undergraduate unsure of whether he wanted to pursue medicine or business. Now he’s a year away from a joint MD/MBA — with stopovers playing professional basketball in Europe and working at different health care start-ups — that lets him do both.

For his scholastic, athletic and community achievements, the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) recently named Greven one of 35 graduate scholarship recipients nationwide.

Greven is applying the $1,000 award toward completing his MBA this spring from Goizueta Business School. He returns next fall for his fourth year at Emory School of Medicine.

“Being active in ODK lets me work with undergrads who I can relate to,” Greven says. “I was drawn to Emory because it’s so strong in so many fields, and you gain ideas just from being part of that community.”

The former captain of the Emory men’s basketball team, Greven had long dreamed of playing in Spain. After earning his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and behavioral biology and conducting undergraduate research on potential therapeutics for Parkinson’s disease, he spent his summer contacting teams across Europe.

He took the MCAT then too, exercising his brain in the same way he worked on his shooting skills. But when a low-division team in Ireland invited him to play, Greven bought a one-way ticket to Europe. He played briefly in Ireland, leveraging the offer into a yearlong contract with the British Basketball League team in England.

He then played two years in Spain, ending his career as a guard with Forca Lleida. The team plays in Spain’s Liga Española de Baloncesto, which draws players who have had brief stints in the NBA or on their Olympic national teams.

“It was a significant step up in competition, which for me meant a significant increase in injuries,” Greven says.

With the injuries, and his MCAT and NCAA postgraduate scholarships about to expire, Greven started medical school in 2017. He began his MBA last year guided in part by Jordan Amadio, a former chief neurosurgery resident at Emory who started NeuroLaunch, an accelerator for neuroscience start-ups where Greven had interned during a basketball off-season.

In between classes, Greven started a monthly health screening clinic for Atlanta’s underserved Latinx population, which gave him a chance to use the Spanish he picked up in Catalonia.

 He also reengaged with ODK, which, unlike similar societies, is open to undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff and alumni. He has been on the group’s board of directors for two years.

“Alex brings amazing enthusiasm and professionalism to the board and serves as a role model and leader for our other board members,” says Sherry Ebrahimi, Campus Life’s director of conference services and housing administration and an ODK advisor.

In recent years, three members of Emory’s ODK circle have been selected as either finalists for, or winners of, the organization’s national leader of the year honors. 

All of them, like Greven, were on track to become community leaders beyond Emory. He plans to pursue neurosurgery as his specialty during residency, with a particular interest in functional surgeries such as deep-brain stimulation. Greven plans to use his business training to help with innovations that may help with better outcomes in surgery.

“Emory sets you up for anything by exposing you to the fundamentals to build off for the rest of your life,” Greven says. “I’m enjoying the journey.”

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