Childhood illness propels Joan Duncan scholar to give back
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 scholarship 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.