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Semester in the sun

Biochemistry student to study nutrition in Hawai’i on academic exchange

special feature: The Student Experience

Part of a special feature highlighting the student voice, student experience and the range of student supports and opportunities available at Memorial.


By Kelly Foss

Amelia Lacey will likely spend some time studying on an Aloha State beach during the winter 2020 semester.

The fourth-year biochemistry (nutrition) major and St. John’s resident will study at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa as one of 20 top Canadian students receiving a Killam Fellowship from Fulbright Canada this year.

The scholarship program allows exceptional undergraduate students to participate in a bi-national academic exchange between Canada and the United States.

Coveted placement

“I won’t be able to come home for a visit while I’m there, and I’ve never lived away from home for that long before, so it’s definitely going to be a new experience for me,” said Ms. Lacey about the upcoming experience.

“But, I’m looking forward to all of the adventurous activities there and I hope to explore the islands of Hawai’i as much as I can.”

Ms. Lacey says her success in receiving the fellowship is an example of what can happen when you don’t give up. She applied for the Killam Fellowship twice before being successful this year – let alone in the highly coveted “Paradise of the Pacific” spot.

“You have to choose the university that best matches the courses you need to take for your degree, and Hawai’i has a great nutrition program,” said Ms. Lacey. “I recognized that and highlighted it in my application. They also offer a lot of courses we don’t have at Memorial, so I’m hoping to take a few courses I wouldn’t otherwise get to take.”

Ms. Lacey enjoys pursuing her love for music, as well as hiking along the coast – both of which she looks forward to continuing in Hawai’i.
Photo: Submitted

In September she travelled to Ottawa, Ont., for an orientation session. There, she met the other Canadian and American Killam fellows, along with the American Fulbright students and scholars who are studying and conducting research in Canada this year. This spring Ms. Lacey will gather with them once again for a seminar in Washington, D.C.

“It was great to meet people who were very different from me, but who also had similar values,” she continued. “I only spent three days with them, but we’re still talking regularly. I know we’ll be keeping in touch.”

It showed her, as many past Memorial fellowship recipients have found, that the Killam network is a strong one.

“Once you get a Killam, you’re considered a Killam fellow for life. So, you will continue to get emails, event invitations and other opportunities from them. It certainly opens up doors, that’s for sure.”

Global health and well-being

A focus on health and well-being has guided Ms. Lacey’s academic and personal pursuits.

She has been awarded several research awards, including three MUCEPs, a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Undergraduate Student Research Award and a Faculty of Medicine Summer Undergraduate Research Award.

A Dean’s List student for the past three years, she has also been supported by several generous scholarships. Currently, she is the vice-president (social) for the Biochemistry Society, executive director of communications with the Women in Science and Engineering Undergraduate Society and a member of the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble. Past volunteer work with Global Brigades in Honduras also inspired Ms. Lacey to become more involved in global health.


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