Jump to:Page Content
“I hold myself responsible, as a world citizen, for fighting the world fight of providing quality health care for all.”
PROFILE: Shawna-Kaye Lester’s graduate studies will prepare her for work in health services management as an epidemiologist and as a medical doctor. “I am most concerned with health care being preventative instead of reactive, and citizens of all classes having access to quality care.” A master’s degree in journalism with a focus on science writing will help her use the press as a tool to educate and influence people’s choices about their health.
At the age of 11, Shawna-Kaye earned a position at Jamaica’s most prominent all-female school. When offered an opportunity at 17 to begin medical training, she declined in favor of a liberal arts education in Maine. “Leaving home for college was the hardest and most defiant decision I have ever made, but I craved to learn more about the world instead of being trained narrowly as a professional.”
INSPIRATION: Shawna-Kaye credits her mother, the sole breadwinner in the family, with making her own opportunities possible. “Her selflessness is my life’s inspiration.”
ASPIRATION: Shawna-Kaye plans to be a journalist and doctor.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Shawna-Kaye has mentored hundreds of Jamaican and Ugandan high school students as part of Eagles Breakaway, a nonprofit she founded in 2005. She taught English with Students International in Guatemala and was a spring break volunteer in the Urban Promise Ministries.
ACCOLADES: A Dana Scholar at Bates College, Shawna-Kaye placed fourth worldwide in Cambridge University’s 2004 Advanced Subsidiary Spanish Examination. In Jamaica, she was the first recipient of the prime minister’s National Youth Award for Excellence in Journalism.
INTERESTING FACT: Shawna-Kaye won a Phillips Fellowship to study dance in Uganda and has competed in ballroom dancing competitions.
University of California-Santa Barbara
King's College London