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Emily Francis nominated for ATHENA award

Friday, August 21, 2015

Mercyhurst University graduate Emily Francis of Goodrich, Michigan, is one of four young women representing Erie’s universities to be nominated the the 2015 ATHENA Young Professional Award.

Francis graduated in May with degrees in intelligence studies and public health and a minor in political science. She maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA, earning her Mercyhurst’s coveted Bishop’s Award for Academic Excellence.

While at Mercyhurst, Francis worked collaboratively with intelligence studies professsor Kristan Wheaton, J.D., leading teams of students in developing Kickstarter campaigns for local entrepreneurs.  

"Emily is an extraordinary analyst, writer, researcher and leader," Wheaton said. "Her work here at Mercyhurst across a wide variety of projects and disciplines shows that she has a powerful desire and ability to be a force for good in the world." 

 Also, she was among an inaugural cohort of five intel majors chosen for a summer study program at one of the world’s leading universities – the United Kingdom’s University of Cambridge.

Francis also worked with Vice President for Academic Affairs David Dausey, Ph.D., formerly dean of the the School of Health Professions and Public Health, and a group of students who traveled to Vietnam to explore the long-term health impacts of war. In addition, she took a semester of study at Mercyhurst’s academic center in Dungarvan, Ireland.

"Emily is the embodiment of the Mercy mission," said Dausey. "She was a student who focused not only on academic scholarship but on setting a path whereby she could change the world."

Also to her credit, Francis speaks four languages and participated in many campus activities during her years on the Hill, including serving as captain of the cross country team and president of the Student Alumni Association. She extended her reach into the Erie community in programs benefitting the JFK Center, Multicultural Community Resource Center, Soldiers and Sailors Home and Second Harvest Food Bank, to name a few.

Francis is pursuing two master’s degrees at the University of Pittsburgh in public health and international development.

Megan Kunst of Edinboro University, Brianna Woods of Gannon University and Chelsea Chase of Penn State Behrend are the other nominees. The winner will be announced Sept. 17 at the ATHENA Awards Luncheon.