University of South Carolina seniors Jared “JD” Dawson, and Emily Saathoff have been named recipients of the Rotary Global Grant to pursue graduate studies abroad in 2021-2022. Recipients were supported by the Vista Night and Columbia clubs 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.
Jared “JD” Dawson of Greenville, South Carolina is a senior Public Health major at UofSC. A Capstone Scholar, International House at Maxcy Resident Mentor, and brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Dawson’s leadership and service on and off campus were influential parts of his UofSC experience. In addition to these activities, Dawson credits his experiences working as a researcher at a rare disease lab, volunteering as a translator at a free clinic in Columbia, interning at a community hospital in Washington DC, and international experiences in Japan, Costa Rica, and Spain as opportunities that shaped his perspective and gave him direction in his career path. His experiences abroad and encouragement from former Capstone Program Director and Rotarian, Dr. Patrick Hickey, fueled his desire to pursue the Rotary Global Grant.
As a Rotary Scholar, Dawson will pursue a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and fulfill Rotary’s goal to support studies in the area of disease prevention and treatment. Dawson states, “global experiences are vitally important to the mission of creating a more just, peaceful, and healthy world. I believe that through the Rotary Global Grant, I will develop new perspectives on South African society, immerse myself in new cultures, and most importantly, serve the local community through strategic Public Health initiatives.” Dawson hopes that his time in Cape Town will not only further develop his clinical skills but will also help him further develop his understanding of health disparities along racial and ethnic lines. In the future Dawson plans to obtain a medical education and serve as a Family Medicine physician in underserved communities. He was supported in his application by the Vista Night Rotary Club.
Senior Capstone Fellow and Public Health major Emily Saathoff of San Antonio, Texas first heard about the Rotary Global Grant through the National Fellowships and Scholar Programs office during her junior year. Having served UofSC as a University Ambassador and conducted research as a member of the Pediatric Health and Neurodevelopment lab, Saathoff, who is also a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity, and Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society, has made it her mission to make a difference. Saathoff says that she has always been interested in working with vulnerable populations, but her experiences at the University of Ghana in 2019 sparked her interest to dive deeper into studies about the relationship between gender inequality and health outcomes in Western Africa. “While studying abroad in Accra, Ghana during the Spring of my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to intern at the University of Ghana Hospital, where I was able to accumulate nearly 150 shadowing hours in the surgical ward. This experience, along with a course load that focused on women in history and community intervention programs, piqued my interest in maternal and child health – ultimately making the Population, Family, and Reproductive Health pathway the perfect fit for me.”
As a Rotary Global Grant Scholar, Saathoff will be returning to the University of Ghana in Accra to pursue a Master of Public Health, with a degree specialization that perfectly aligns with Rotary’s focus on maternal and child health. She hopes that her time in Accra will further develop her clinical skillset and deepen her understanding of public health issues unique to African women and children. Saathoff credits Jim Morris, CEO of the South Carolina Council on Economic Education, for helping her secure sponsorship from a local Rotary club, making her the first UofSC student to receive nomination support from the Columbia Rotary Club. She also thanks Dr. Patrick Hickey for his mentorship and guidance throughout her years at UofSC. Following her grant year, Saathoff will continue her education and pursue a medical degree, with the hope being that she will use her career as a physician to combat health inequities around the globe.
Dawson and Saathoff bring the university’s total of Rotary Scholars to 91 since the 1994 establishment of National Fellowships and Scholar Programs (NFSP), which assists students as they prepare applications for national fellowship competitions. Both JD and Emily were helped along the way by Campus Rotary advisors for the Rotary Global Grant, including Rotarians Louis Dessau, Jim Morris, Fred Myhrer, John Pederson, and Patrick Hickey. To learn more about such competitions and view a complete list of the University’s Rotary Scholars, visit www.sc.edu/nfsp.