Emily Stephenson ’15 named a Rotary Scholar
Emily Stephenson ’15 has been named the only District 6710 Rotary Scholar in Kentucky, the second Centre College student to receive the scholarship in as many years. Centre prides itself on creating global citizens, ranking #1 in the nation for its study abroad programs, and Stephenson is an outstanding example.
She has taken the Centre Commitment above and beyond, not only studying abroad in Strasbourg, France, but returning there for a prestigious summer internship at the Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC) in 2014, and will now use her Rotary District 6710 Global Grant Scholarship to study at the University of Sheffield in England.
Stephenson credits her time in Strasbourg with prompting her to continue her international education in post-graduate studies. Living and working with a diverse array of peers originating from countries around the world at IGBMC, she was able to not only take part in cutting edge research but also see perspectives from students across the globe.
“This internship had an incredible impact on my world view and career goals and steered me towards a career in global health,” Stephenson said.
She discovered the Rotary Scholarship’s potential after being recommended for the program by Professor of French Allison Connolly.
“After looking at the different areas of focus for the Rotary Grant, I realized a lot of my personal and career goals coincided with that of the esteemed organization,” Stephenson said.
The program Stephenson will participate in is related directly to disease prevention and treatment, as well as maternal and child health, two of Rotary International’s areas of focus. It will clarify her understanding of the spread and treatment of communicable diseases, with an emphasis on making a more sustainable impact on the health of communities.
“After gaining a personal understanding of the epidemiological basis of disease transmission, I will be educated on how to assess infected or potentially infected populations and further, create programs that will educate these populations on prevention and treatment, empowering them to sustain their own community’s health,” Stephenson said.
Her global focus on health is, in part, personal.
“After seeing health disparities in my own country (working in a health clinic in the neighborhood of Algiers), I feel compelled to work to solve health problems on a local and global scale in my future career,” she said.
Stephenson previously planned on going into pediatric oncology, but in light of her recent experiences, her career goals have shifted. She now plans to earn her Master of Public Health before going on to medical school or pursuing a PhD in public health. Her ultimate goal is to work in a health organization like the World Health Organization or Doctors Without Borders in order to build relationships with community members that help empower them to take their health into their own hands in a sustainable and effective manner.
“I am a strong believer that access to health education and health resources is the first step towards health equity, so regardless of what specialty I choose, I will work to reach greater health equity worldwide,” Stephenson said.
Part of this focus is inspired by Stephenson’s strong involvement in philanthropy projects on the College campus. At Centre, she served as philanthropy chair of her sorority Tri Delta.
“I have always had an interest in philanthropic pursuits, but Centre’s many opportunities for both service work and fundraising have allowed me to take this interest above and beyond my expectations,” she said. “I am honored to be able to continue Centre’s tradition of philanthropy in not only my post-graduate studies but also throughout my entire career.”
by Elise L. Murrell
June 9, 2015