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Student combines skill sets to her advantage

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mercyhurst University junior Kennethea Wilson likes to think of herself as a Maya Angelou in the making, taking her writing inspiration from the famous American author. She is also a self-described science nerd and an advocate for social justice on behalf of African Americans.

The 21-year-old public health major from Rochester, N.Y., envisions pulling all these interests together one day as an epidemiologist, and she is well on her way. This spring, Wilson earned two prestigous honors: first, she was named a recipient of the 2014-2015 Go Red For Women® Multicultural Fund Scholarship, and second, she was selected for a summer internship at Johns Hopkins University in public health research.

Wilson is one of only 16 recipients nationally to earn the Go Red For Women® scholarship, developed by Macy’s and the American Heart Association to increase the number of minority women in the healthcare profession. She earned the $2,500 award for her scholarship, community engagement and leadership.

Wilson is involved in numerous campus and civic activities; chief among them, she is the founder and president of Black Students for Unity at Mercyhurst and is a planning committee member for Trillium Health: A Call to Women of Color to promote HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness in the Greater Rochester community.

Meanwhile, Wilson will head to the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University this summer to participate in an eight-week internship where she will do independent research centered around the theme of health disparities in minority populations. The all-inclusive program provides housing, travel expenses and a salary.

Wilson came to Mercyhurst from the School of the Arts, a Rochester secondary school where she chose a concentration in creative writing.

“My goal is to be an author and an epidemiologist and, hopefully, one day make discoveries that I can communicate effectively, particularly to minority populations,” she said.

Her path is not necessarily her own to make, though, she says. “I want to be an epidemiologist but God will put me where he wants me to be.”