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Lacey funds to support studies in South Africa and India

12.13.18
By: Mark Tarnacki
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The world will be the classroom for two Saint Michael's College students who recently were Awarded Lacey Scholarships -- below, the top photo is Alyssa Nye, and the other image shows Rachel High.

Supported by funds from the Brian Lacey ’72 International Fellowship in Social Justice, one Saint Michael’s College student will spend a semester living, learning and serving in South Africa and another in India during the coming Spring 2019 semester.

“Alyssa Nye and Rachel High will be stellar Saint Michael’s representatives while abroad in South Africa and India respectively,” said Peggy Imai, the College’s director of study abroad, in announcing this year’s Lacey Fellowship recipients. Imai emphasized how important Lacey’s support continues to be for Study Abroad and to the College in general.

Nye, a junior from Marblehead, MA, is an aspiring teacher double-majoring in elementary education and American studies, while High is a junior biology major from Cincinnati, OH, who hopes one day to attend medical school and enter the public health field. These two women will receive $2,500 apiece for intensive academic and experiential learning about cultures, language immersion and activities that promote social justice in their respective study-abroad locations.

It’s about chilAlyssa Nyedren

In her application essay for the scholarship, Nye (photo at left) quoted Mahatma Gandhi’s exhortation to “be the change you wish to see the world.”  She wrote, “I am on the road to becoming an elementary educator and cannot wait to motivate and inspire my students to follow their passions as well.” At Saint Michael’s she is a core team leader and “big sister” in the mentoring program Little Brother Little Sister, and from that experience, she says, “I am motivated to learn about other children’s eagerness to change the world.”

She will be studying abroad at Stellenbosch University in South Africa through the AIFS (American Institute for Foreign Study) program. Nye plans on taking a nine-credit Global Service Learning course designed to engage students with contemporary global issues in a local area with the hopes of making a social impact. She will be collaborating with Ikaya Primary School in a nearby South African Township each week to explore the mission of her program, which is social justice.

“I am applying for this scholarship because, like Brian Lacey, I too believe in the benefit from international service and social justice activism,” she wrote. Nye says she plans to put her scholarship funds toward the cost of attending the program.  She also has a newfound love for photography that she hopes to develop during her semester.

Seeking global health remedies

Rachel High (photo at right) wrote in her essay applying for the scholarship that her educational path “hopefully involves receiving my MD and a master’s in public health.” She further hopes that her time in India “will help me learn first-hand what it is like to practice medicine in a developing nation, and how public health plays a role in society.”Rachel High 150

Her essay mentions wanting to know more about “the truth of health care around that world – that all people do not receive the same treatment,” with factors including social inequities between gender, race and age, ability, class and religion." She would like to see the remedies she works on locally in India to perhaps later be applied globally in some manner, where useful and applicable.

“I am interested in possibly working for an international public health organization as a physician in my future to further public health efforts in under-served communities and administering care," she wrote. Another motivation for High is just having a first experience “in a culture vastly different from my own.”  She’ll produce an independent research project of 25-45 pages, based in in-depth research during her semester -- possibly something that connects to her current work in the U.S. caring for children  “The information gathered will over the children’s circumstances from prenatal to present,” she said.

Besides being an enthusiastic mentor for Little Brothers Little Sisters  on campus, High is a member of the campus a cappella singing group "The AcaBellas," is a campus tour guide for the Admission Office and works at the Early Learning Center. She has worked with children for many years, including as a camp counselor, nanny, and au pair in Austria. Along with her biology major she has minors in chemistry and psychology and is on the pre-health track, with an ultimate goal of one day becoming a pediatrician.

About Lacey Fellowships

The Brian Lacey International Fellowship in Social Justice is designed to encourage and honor students who have demonstrated superior academic achievement as well as a dedication to a deeper understanding of issues and social-justice. This merit-and need-based award is intended to recognize students who show initiative, imagination and motivation to apply their academic skills to the betterment of humanity.

The fellowship is offered once each semester. They are funded through gifts from Brian Lacey ’72 -- president of Lacey Entertainment, a New York-based worldwide television marketing, production and distribution company. Lacey is also founder and director of the Kilkea Foundation, a non-profit organization that encourages and honors excellence in the humanities, arts and sciences. This benefactor also has established the Henry G. Fairbanks Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Saint Michael’s through the Kilkea Foundation.

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