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O'Mara Taylor '12 receives the Luce Scholarship

O’Mara Taylor ’12 has been awarded a Luce Scholarship for 2015-2016

Through an intense three-month-long selection process, 18 candidates from 16 nominating institutions have been selected from among 156 outstanding nominees! O’Mara Taylor is an advocate for community development and public health. She currently works in fundraising and programming at Primeros Pasos, a rural clinic in Guatemala, which provides medical and dental services with a focus on nutrition and women’s health. During a gap year before college, O’Mara volunteered at organizations in Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina. Through her work teaching sex education in the slums outside Buenos Aires and as a women’s health volunteer at a small clinic in the mountains of Peru, O’Mara began to appreciate the complexities of development efforts and became interested in community health issues. She went on to graduate with honors from Vassar College, with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a focus in Public Health. During her sophomore summer, O’Mara worked at an inner-city health clinic in her hometown of Boston as a Summer Fellow with Health Leads, an organization dedicated to breaking the link between poverty and bad health. In college, she also sang a cappella and led the Vassar Women’s Rugby team to the Sweet 16 round of Nationals as co-captain, going on to break multiple school records and become a Division II All-American Player for the 2011-2012 season. Before moving to Guatemala, O’Mara spent two years working for the Environmental Solutions branch of FTI Consulting on large-scale pollution cleanup projects. During this time, she also volunteered with Do One Thing, an HIV and Hepatitis C mobile testing organization that works in at-risk communities in West and Southwest Philadelphia, doing neighborhood education and testing outreach. O’Mara plans to continue pursuing a career promoting women’s health education and access to contraception through community-led health initiatives. When not at the clinic or assisting with workshops in the field, she can be found hiking nearby mountains, playing guitar, and finding ways to add avocado to every single meal.

Vassar is among 75 selected institutions that are invited to submit applications for this prestigious opportunity.

“The Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship program. It was launched by the Henry Luce Foundation in 1974 to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. The program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Luce Scholars each year, and welcomes applications from college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals in a variety of fields who have had limited exposure to Asia.”

Taken from the Henry Luce Foundation website.