|Lucy Marcil '06 Receives Jack Kent Cooke Graduate
August 27, 2008
Contact: Bill Giduz
by Rachel Andoga
Lucy Marcil ’06 has been awarded the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholarship, and will use it to pursue her passion for global health equity.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private, independent foundation established in 2000 through the posthumous generosity of its namesake, who established it to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education.
Marcil’s accomplishments at Davidson and since her graduation certainly qualify her as a “young person of exceptional promise” through dedication to leadership and service. Following her 2006 graduation, Marcil joined the Peace Corps as a Community Health and HIV/AIDS volunteer, and has been working in Walvis Bay, Namibia, with Catholic AIDS Action (CAA) since.
|Marcil in Angola, which borders Namibia to the south.|
“I felt overwhelmed and humbled when I received the phone call that I’d gotten the scholarship—on my cell phone in Namibia!” Marcil said. “I am incredibly lucky, and am more determined than ever to work to improve health care access and quality for the poor and underserved all over the world.”
Marcil will use her scholarship to pursue a combined M.D. and Masters of Public Health degree at the University of Pennsylvania. She initially planned to begin her studies this fall, but has deferred her enrollment due to several Peace Corps projects that require her attention.
Her Peace Corps work has included a variety of different projects, including development of a health course for imprisoned women, computerizing her office’s database, and working with Camp GLOW, a leadership camp for teenagers organized by Peace Corps volunteers.
But her primary project has been establishment of a sustainable after-school program for orphans and vulnerable children. “When I first arrived at our center, the after-school program consisted only of a daily soup kitchen,” she explained. “I can now happily say that in addition to daily soup, 60 children receive supplementary math and English instruction, life skills classes, sports activities, and computer instruction.”
Marcil majored in public health through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Davidson, and cites that as a model she strives to apply to her future career. “I believe that health care—like most things—can be most successful when we use a multidisciplinary approach. Therefore, I plan to work as a physician from the top and the bottom. I will use my medical degree to provide quality care to patients desperate to receive any care. I plan to use my public health degree to help establish and improve health care systems.”
She would like to work toward global health equity. “There are many sides to the arguments about global development—how and whether it should occur. But I firmly believe health is not only a human right, but a fundamental necessity to live,” Marcil said. “I don’t think it’s our place as Americans to tell other people how to live their lives, but I do think we have an obligation to help give them the opportunity to live their lives.”
|Marcil and a friend hike down to the “boiling point” at Victoria Falls in Zambia. |
Marcil’s involvement in the Peace Corps and, most recently, her success as a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar, came as no surprise to those who knew her while she was a student. “Lucy is bright, thoughtful, kind and compassionate,” said Mary Thornberry, Professor of Political Science and a member of Marcil’s senior thesis committee. “Not afraid of any challenge, she will be a positive force in the world. I’m very pleased to hear this news.”
“Her work with the Peace Corps has been, I think, fundamental for her,” said Scott Denham, Professor of German. Denham met Marcil while she was declaring her major through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, and the pair worked closely while Marcil completed her senior thesis, on the “Impact of Psychosocial Factors on Duration of Breastfeeding,” which earned her the designation “Honors in Public Health.”
“Her ability to go straight into medical school and her decision to enter the Peace Corps instead sets her apart,” Denham said. “She chose a challenging path that allowed her to learn about herself and follow her heart, rather than the expectations of others. I think she’s made a real change in people’s lives.”
For more information about Marcil, you can visit her profile page at the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Web site.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,700 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.
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