Story posted March 31, 2010
Kyle Dempsey '11, of East Millinocket, Maine, has been chosen to receive a prestigious 2010 Truman Scholarship, awarded by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. The Truman Scholarship is a highly selective program, providing up to $30,000 toward graduate study.
Truman scholars receive priority admission at top graduate schools, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and internship opportunities with the federal government.
Dempsey, a biochemistry major with plans to pursue both a medical degree and a master's in public health, was one of two finalists from Maine and among a field of 176 students representing 122 colleges and universities across the country.
"I view this scholarship as an affirmation of the validity of my public service work," says Dempsey. "Having not had healthcare for much of my life, I've always wanted to work as a doctor so that I could provide the healthcare that so many people lack. This scholarship, however, will allow me to benefit even larger groups of people by enabling me to pursue a public policy masters degree along with an M.D. My hope is to eventually to work on policy initiatives that increase economically disadvantaged citizens' access to healthcare."
Dempsey says he'll apply for the Washington Summer Institute. "I would like to work for the Department of Health and Human Service's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to study disadvantaged population's healthcare access barriers and the origins of these groups' relatively poor health," wrote Dempsey in his application.
"Due to my background volunteering in Latin America and my Spanish language skills, I would be especially interested in learning about and addressing healthcare issues faced by Spanish-speaking immigrants."
During the summer between his freshman and sophomore years, Dempsey was awarded a Preston Family Public Career Interest Grant through Career Planning and a Global Citizens' Grant from the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good to volunteer in Nicaragua's second-largest public hospital.
Dempsey currently serves as Bowdoin Student Government treasurer and chair of the Student Activities Funding Committee. He has also served as co-leader on an Alternative Spring Break trip to Guatemala City, where the group worked with Safe Passage, an organization that creates opportunities for Guatemala City's poorest children through the power of education.
"Kyle is committed to a life of public service and possesses the personal integrity, drive, compassion, vision and intellectual capacity to be an effective change agent in the healthcare field," wrote Cindy Stocks, director of student fellowships and research, in the Student Fellowships and Research Committee's nominating letter.
The Senator George J. Mitchell Scholarship Research Institute, whose mission is to increase the likelihood that young people from every community in Maine will aspire to, pursue and achieve a college education, awarded Dempsey its Paddy Frank Walsh Pioneer Scholar Award in October 2009. More about the award here.
About the Truman Scholarship
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation is the federal memorial to the country's 33rd president. The mission of the Truman Scholarship Foundation is to find and recognize college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education or elsewhere in the public service; and to provide them with financial support for graduate study, leadership training, and fellowship with other students who are committed to making a difference through public service.
The Foundation defines public service as employment in government at any level, uniformed services, public-interest organizations, nongovernmental research and/or educational organizations, public and private schools, and public service-oriented nonprofit organizations such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment.