A member of the Georgia State Alumni Association’s 2023 Class of 40 Under 40 is being recognized as a member of Georgia Trend magazine’s 40 Under 40.
Charbel Aoun (B.S. ’18) is a pharmacy student and co-founder of the Georgia First Generation Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Buford, Ga., that has helped more than 750 students consider next steps after high school graduation.
He was recognized earlier this year by the Georgia State Alumni Association as one of 40 graduates under the age of 40 embodying the values of the university and making a positive difference in their organizations and communities.
Pictured on the cover of Georgia Trend’s October 2023 issue, Aoun, 27, is the youngest of the honorees, who have been called the “state’s best and brightest under the age of 40.”
Aoun co-founded the Georgia First Generation Foundation in 2016 with his college friend Francisco Martinez (B.S. '19) after pitching the idea as part of a business competition. The idea didn’t win, but Aoun and Martinez found enough support and encouragement to launch as a nonprofit.
“As a first-generation college student himself, Charbel Aoun brings his training in education and mentoring to this nonprofit in Gwinnett County,” Georgia Trend wrote. “As a student at Georgia State University, he founded a club to provide resources and connections for high school students, helping enable their success in college.”
According to Aoun, who has now helped organize more than 45 educational meetings and conferences for the students, they have a more than 95 percent acceptance rate into college.
“These events have served as a platform for students from underrepresented backgrounds to gain valuable insights into higher education and career opportunities,” Aoun said. “Witnessing the impact of these events on students’ lives has been incredibly gratifying. It reaffirms my belief that education can transform lives and break down barriers.”
Aoun graduated from Mountain View High School after his parents settled in Gwinnett County from their home countries of Lebanon and Syria. After graduating with a psychology degree from Georgia State, Aoun enrolled in PCOM Georgia, an affiliate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He earned a master’s degree from PCOM Georgia in 2021 and is now a third-year pharmacy student.
He has also been named among Gwinnett Young Professionals’ 35 Under 35.
Aoun said he plans to merge his passion for pharmacy with his commitment to leadership and education.
“Being named to Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40 is a significant and humbling honor representing a pivotal moment in my career,” Aoun said. “The award reflects my dedication to equitable access to higher education and the transformative power of mentorship. It motivates me to continue pushing the boundaries of what I can achieve in pharmacy, advocating for healthcare improvement and empowering future generations of leaders through education.”
Images courtesy of Charbel Aoun