A University of South Carolina senior, Hanson Cowan, has been named a recipient of the Rotary Global Grant to pursue a Master’s of Epidemiology at Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia. Cowan is sponsored by the Five Points Rotary Club in Rotary District 7770.
The Rotary is the world's largest privately funded international scholarship program whose scholars further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries and geographical areas by encouraging person-to-person diplomacy. Rotary Global Grants are valued at over $30,000, provide one year of graduate study abroad, and encourage recipients to engage in community service work.
Cowan is a senior in the South Carolina Honors College, where he majors in biochemistry and molecular biology and minors in Spanish. After graduation in May 2019, he will attend the Universidad de Antioquia for a Masters of Epidemiology, with goals to work as an infectious disease doctor or epidemic intelligence service officer. Cowan has volunteered at the Good Samaritan Clinic in Columbia through the Community Service Ambassador program, which exposed him to the prevalence of certain non-communicable diseases in the Latino community and the disparities for minorities in access to healthcare. Under Dr. Claudia Grillo of the USC School of Medicine, he has studied the effects of insulin resistance (or diabetes) on the brain. Cowan also participated in a summer research internship at the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center in the Vanderbilt School of Medicine studying the detrimental effects of diabetes and obesity. In addition to leading a Timmy Global Health medical service brigade to Ecuador, he has completed one Maymester comparing healthcare systems in the UK, Netherlands, and US and another studying the healthcare system in Costa Rica.
Cowan’s studies and experiences encompass Disease Prevention and Treatment, one of Rotary’s six areas of focus. His focus for his master’s program will be non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. While in Colombia, Cowan will work in medical clinics and hospitals and with local Rotary clubs on their health initiatives. He also plans to work on a project to provide nutritional education and secure food sources for communities of low socioeconomic status. Cowan aims to attend medical school following the completion of his master’s degree.
Cowan brings the university’s total of Rotary Scholars to 88 since the 1994 establishment of the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs (OFSP), which assists students as they prepare applications for national fellowship competitions. He was also assisted by faculty member and Rotarian Louis Dessau, and Dr. Patrick Hickey. To learn more about such competitions and view a complete list of the University’s Rotary Scholars, visit www.sc.edu/ofsp.