Child­hood ill­ness pro­pels Joan Duncan scholar to give back

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPCIAL - Keisha Hill Gleaner Writer keisha.hill@glean­

Vanessa Moo Young (left) with other schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ents.

DI­AG­NOSED WITH glaucoma at age 14 and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the emo­tional and fi­nan­cial chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with it, Vanessa Moo Young dreamt of be­com­ing a pae­di­a­tri­cian so she could as­sist chil­dren like her­self with the best med­i­cal care.

Dur­ing her fi­nal year of sixth form, her dream was al­most dashed when her par­ents’ fi­nan­cial po­si­tion shifted; her mother, the bread­win­ner, was made re­dun­dant. With in­creased fi­nan­cial strain on the fam­ily and mea­gre re­sources avail­able to pro­vide back­ing for a loan, Moo Young’s ed­u­ca­tional fu­ture looked un­cer­tain.

A chance meet­ing with Kim Mair, CEO, Joan Duncan Foun­da­tion, pro­vided Moo Young with a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity to get as­sis­tance with fund­ing her ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion.

Moo Young and her fam­ily de­cided to take the next steps to ex­plore their op­tions while bank­ing on her solid aca­demic track record.

Moo Young’s high aca­demic stan­dards be­came her ticket to the Univer­sity of the West Indies, Mona. She was se­lected as one of the 12 ter­tiary Joan Duncan Foun­da­tion awardees.

She had pre­vi­ously grad­u­ated among the top 20 stu­dents at Im­mac­u­late Con­cept­tion High School, hav­ing con­sis­tently win­ning a spot on the hon­our roll. She won nu­mer­ous awards, in­clud­ing her out­stand­ing per­for­mance in bi­ol­ogy at the Caribbean Ad­vanced Pro­fi­ciency Exam level, plac­ing sec­ond in Ja­maica, and was among the top 10 per­form­ers in Ja­maica in English lit­er­a­ture, bi­ol­ogy and Span­ish in the Caribbean Se­condary School Ex­am­i­na­tion Coun­cil ex­ams.

Moo Young gives back by tu­tor­ing and is sec­re­tary of the tu­tor­ing pro­gramme at Im­mac­u­late, shar­ing her skills and knowl­edge with peers and stu­dents at Con­stant Spring Pri­mary and Ju­nior High School.



Moo Young also joined the an­i­mal wel­fare club, Pro­tec­tion of An­i­mal Well­ness So­ci­ety, and vol­un­teered at the Bus­ta­mante Hospi­tal for Chil­dren and Univer­sity Hospi­tal of the West Indies (UHWI) as part of An­gels of Love Ja­maica.

“I am driven to help oth­ers be­cause I know how fi­nan­cially chal­leng­ing and emo­tion­ally over­whelm­ing it is to be sick and in need of help from oth­ers. I want to use ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to as­sist those in need,” Moo Young said.

Now in her first year at med­i­cal school, Moo Young re­mains committed to vol­un­teer­ing, with plans to join the UWI chap­ter of An­gels of Love. She also hopes to pur­sue med­i­cal re­search in the fu­ture.

“I see op­por­tu­ni­ties to make a dif­fer­ence through re­search. My vi­sion of un­der­tak­ing re­search into reme­dies is so that I may add value to the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion and pro­vide hope to per­sons in need of a cure. I want to be a game changer,” Moo Young said.

In her down time, Moo Young plays ta­ble ten­nis and is a mem­ber of the UWI Sur­gi­cal So­ci­ety.

Kim Mair, CEO, Joan Duncan Foun­da­tion said, “Stu­dents like her en­cour­age the foun­da­tion to con­tinue to sup­port ed­u­ca­tional ini­tia­tives, as she con­tin­ues to ex­cel and, more im­por­tantly, tap into her own great­ness in or­der to trans­form the lives of oth­ers,” Mair stated.


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