Pete Reid Award for Young Alumni 2007

 

Pete Reid Award for Young Alumni

The Pete Reid Award for Young Alumni is given by the Alumni Association to someone whose youthful exuberance is demonstrated daily toward his or her career, community, and Whitman College as exemplified by Pete Reid '49, in his service to the College. This award is limited to graduates of the last fifteen years.

Stephanie Van Dyke

2007 Pete Reid Award for Young Alumni

Stephanie Van Dyke '99 is embarking on the spring break of a lifetime. A second-year medical student at Albany Medical College, she is heading up a mission in late March that will take two doctors, a trauma nurse and 10 medical students to a small village in Uganda that has never before had medical care available.

Awaiting the group is a newly constructed medical clinic and two small dormitories (to house volunteers) that Van Dyke built last summer with the help of a small inheritance from her grandmother, and the hard work of her parents, several volunteers and 50 villagers from Ddegeya, Uganda.

The idea for the Engeye Health Clinic was born the year after Van Dyke graduated from Whitman. Armed with a psychology degree but unsure about her next step, Van Dyke let her passion for travel and volunteer work propel her around the world in search of herself. Her first stop was Uganda, where she taught English to the children of Katooke Village, but soon discovered that what they needed much more was basic medical care. This epiphany eventually inspired her to choose a career in medicine with the ultimate goal of building sustainable medical clinics in Uganda and other underserved areas around the world that work in collaboration with the United States but are not dependent on outside resources.

Van Dyke says that even as a teenager she "yearned to help those who were disadvantaged," and her high school and college volunteer activities include tutoring at a Portland Boys and Girls Club, delivering Meals on Wheels, volunteering and mentoring at a preschool, and caring for animals at the Humane Society. But her experiences in Uganda, and later Pretoria and Thailand, she says, created a focus for her desire to help others that had not existed for her before her travels.

Her path since Uganda has taken her through a medical assistant program in Portland, then to a post-baccalaureate pre-med program at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., and to her current status as a second-year medical student at Albany.

"After graduation, I definitely envision myself living in Uganda at least half the year making sure the clinics run well," she says.

For more information on the Engeye Health Clinic, visit www.engeye.com.