Biomedical engineering senior donates his time to get people donating blood


Senior Peter Zaki first volunteered at a blood drive as a junior in high school, when his calculus teacher recruited his help. When he came to Penn State, he decided he wanted to continue making a beneficial impact in his community. He chose to join the Student Red Cross Club (SRCC).

Zaki, a biomedical engineering major, quickly rose through the leadership ranks of the SRCC to become president this year.

“I was first nominated to be the sponsorship officer because leaders of the club at the time noticed my commitment to the Red Cross,” Zaki said.

The following year he became the treasurer, and a year later he was elected president.

As head of the SRCC, Zaki has taken great steps to organize two major fall blood drive campaigns.

“I have prepared for the blood drives this fall through meetings beginning in April,” he said. “During the summer, I communicated with (new SRCC officers) as well as the Penn State donor representative from the American Red Cross to plan and organize our campaigns -- Bleed Blue and the 21st annual Penn State-Michigan State Blood Challenge.”

The Bleed Blue campaign began in September and includes an upcoming drive in Beaver Stadium from noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 9. The Penn State-Michigan State Blood Challenge ran from Nov. 3 to 20.

Zaki said the blood drives have been successful so far due to generous sponsors, but the Blood Challenge will “need every Penn Stater’s help” to reach the collection goal and defeat Michigan State.

“It is estimated that 41,000 blood donations are needed each day,” he said. “The need for blood is ongoing, but on the positive side, each donation can save up to three lives.”

For those interested in getting involved, Zaki said the SRCC has many opportunities for students to network, develop leadership and organizational skills not stressed upon in a classroom and to improve the community.

“Our student organization also fundraises for THON and has a THON-Blood Drive campaign during the winter,” he said.

They are even planning a new event—an annual Red Cross 5-K that will take place March 21.

Outside of school and the SRCC, Zaki still finds time to for his intellectual interests. He plans to go into the medical field one day and uses his time at Penn State to prepare. Zaki conducts research on reducing the migration of cancer, diagnosing cancer and treating difficult-to-heal wounds to “augment (his) education and discover new information.”

He said all of his activities leave him with essential life-long skills.

“My responsibilities with the Red Cross overlap with my major in the sense that they both further my problem solving, communication and collaborative skills,” Zaki explained.

He will graduate this spring and is currently applying to medical schools.

More information about the Student Red Cross Club can be found at


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Cate Hansberry



The Department of Biomedical Engineering administers the undergraduate major in biomedical engineering, and is a part of the university-wide Intercollege Graduate Degree Program, offering both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Bioengineering. Our work combines traditional engineering principles with medicine and technology for the betterment of human health and society. 

Department of Biomedical Engineering

205 Hallowell Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-863-6614