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Emilee Stenson in the Science Center
Emilee Stenson in the Science Center

Emilee Stenson

  • May 11, 2021
  • Marketing and Communications staff

Emilee Stenson, a senior Molecular Genetics major and Chemistry and English double minor, from Attica, has been named the Honors Student of the Month for April. 

Ms. Stenson, a member of the campus’s Health Professions Club, Biology Club, and secretary of Beta Beta Beta, the national honor society in biological sciences, has been truly active on and off campus. In addition to serving as a student ambassador, she has been a biology and chemistry tutor at the Learning Center, as well as a teaching assistant. She has also completed undergraduate research for two faculty in different fields: Dr. Jeanette McVicker in the Department of English, and Dr. Nicholas Quintyne in the Department of Biology. She has done all this while working as many as 40 hours a week as a patient care aide at the Brooks Memorial Hospital Emergency Department and Medical/Surgical Unit, and participating in Habitat for Humanity and other service activities.

Dr. McVicker nominated Stenson for the award, saying, “Emilee’s commitment to diversity has led her to craft an interdisciplinary undergraduate experience bringing together a focus on intersectional approaches to public health/ medicine, that brings together work in the humanities and WGST/ETHN to focus on how public health professionals can better serve underrepresented communities. That work includes the way she has used her patient care experience at Brooks during the pandemic with her independent study on Virginia Woolf on grief, mourning and loss. She has used this work to highlight the broken systems around patient care, especially patients of color and those in impoverished communities.”

Dr. McVicker continued, “Emilee's capstone project has yielded three versions of an important paper that embraces the medical humanities: ‘Woolf, Grief and Medicine.’ She will present the full version of this paper at the Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf in a (virtual) regular panel session in June. A different version of this was presented at the Johns Hopkins Richard Macksey Undergraduate Humanities Symposium; a more general version was presented earlier this month at the SUNY SURC. Each version carefully addresses its audience; these are three different papers with slides that she's put together. Emilee has also written two online feminist health articles that will be published later this spring; further, she has been awarded a prestigious NIH [National Institutes of Health] post-baccalaureate internship, where she will be working specifically on diversity and medical outcomes.

“There are many more accolades I could post here. What links them together is Emilee's commitment to the 'learn, lead, live' motto: she is continually challenging herself to engage in new experiences and to expand her interdisciplinary knowledge; she is already leading her peers to embrace diversity and wellness in holistic ways and also serving her peers through tutoring and club activities; she is living the ethics that this interdisciplinary, intersectional focus has allowed her to foster.”

Starting June 1, Stenson will be a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., via its Post-baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Program through the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). She plans to apply to and attend medical school in the future.

With graduation impending, Stenson reflected on what she loves about SUNY Fredonia, including “the small class size” and “the opportunity to get to know nearly everyone in my department!” She said, “I have formed really strong relationships that will last well past undergrad, and am very grateful for the opportunities these connections gave me.”

Stenson also loved the “unique classes” offered her via the Fredonia Honors Program, saying, “The first English Honors course I took was with Dr. McVicker, which provided the foundation for my love of English now. I took a very interesting philosophy course that I otherwise wouldn't have taken, and I am currently taking a course on one of my favorite musicals, ‘Hamilton!’ I have also used my independent study with Dr. McVicker as an Honors learning contract, as well!”

Stenson added, “I would like to give a quick shout out to Dr. McVicker for her incredible support and belief in me and my abilities over the last three years of being a student of hers. Her mentoring truly brings out the best in me, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from her. I'm looking forward to making my research in the medical humanities and in gender studies a major part of my future career as a physician!”

The Honors Student of the Month Program is a collaboration between the Honors Program and the Honors House, which is part of the Office of Residence Life. Nominations of Honors students who embody the three pillars of the Honors Program (Learn. Lead. Live.) and who intentionally support the campus in honoring diversity, enhancing wellness and promoting career readiness are especially encouraged.

Recipients of the Honors Student of the Month award receive a gift card to the bookstore and a certificate and have their name engraved on a plaque to hang in the Office of Residence Life. To learn more about how to nominate an Honors student for this award, please email the program.