Giannina Garces ’02, wanted to study medicine long before her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer during her freshman year at Mary Baldwin, but watching her endure the treatment ‘ including a double mastectomy ’ and her path to recovery solidified Garces’ career goal. She was selected as one of 39 students pursuing graduate studies this year to receive a scholarship of up to $50,000 annually through the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.
Garces, 20, will use the award to study for a combined doctor of medicine (M.D.) and master of public health degree at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The daughter of native Ecuadorians, Garces hopes to provide treatment to other Hispanic women and improve the public health messages to Hispanics and other minorities in the U.S. and in Latin America.
As a student in the college’s Program for the Exceptionally Gifted, Garces was awarded a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship in the program’s inaugural year. She has had internships and jobs at the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Applicants for the Cooke scholarship had to show “not only exceptional academic ability, but also a strong will to succeed and critical thinking, a sense of service, and a love of the arts or humanities,” said Matthew J. Quinn, the Foundation’s executive director.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private, independent foundation established in 2000 to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education. The Foundation also provides scholarships for students transferring from community college to complete a four-year degree and scholarships to help youth develop their talents and abilities in high school.
Mary Baldwin University, with a main campus in Staunton, Virginia, and five regional centers, excels in providing leadership training, character development, and career preparation with a strong academic foundation. A master’s level university, Mary Baldwin offers three undergraduate residential programs for women – the Traditional Program for Women, the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted, and the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership – as well as coeducational, nonresidential bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Mary Baldwin offers the B.A. and/or the B.S. in more than 30, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), the Master of Letters (M.Litt.) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance, and post-graduate teacher licensure (PGTL). The oldest women’s college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Mary Baldwin was founded in 1842 and was the first women’s college to be granted a circle of the national leadership honor society Omicron Deta Kappa. It is one of only a relatively few colleges and universities to shelter a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society.