Senior wins fellowship to kickstart global health career

Sam Lewis ’15 will receive work placement in Asia from his Luce Scholar Fellowship--Photo Courtesy of Office of Communications
Sam Lewis ’15 will receive work placement in Asia from his Luce Scholar Fellowship–Photo Courtesy of Office of Communications

Sam Lewis ’15 was recently named a Luce Scholar for the 2015-2016 year.

The Luce Scholar Fellowship is awarded annually by the Henry Luce Foundation to 15 to 18 college seniors, graduate students and young professionals who are interested in working in Asia, but have no previous experience in Asian Studies. Each student selected by the Foundation is provided funding, language training and professional placement. The most recent student selected from the College was Erin McGonagle ’12.

Lewis is majoring in biology and plans to pursue advanced degrees in public health and medicine, followed by a career working to reduce global health inequality. His previous experience includes an internship with Innovations for Poverty Action in Burkina Faso. Lewis is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Williams Environmental Council, and was also named an Agmen Scholar for biology research.

Lewis said the last few weeks have been an exciting time as he works with the Foundation to find a suitable host country and work placement.

“The wonderful thing about the Luce Fellowship is that it is an opportunity to put oneself in a new and unfamiliar situation, so it is difficult to know what to expect. I am simply excited for the challenges and adventures to come,” Lewis said.

At this point, the details of the Fellowship have not been confirmed. However, Lewis believes he will be working with a health non-profit in Southeast Asia. 

“Ultimately, my highest goal is simply to gain a glimpse into the life and daily realities of others,” Lewis said. He believes the opportunities the Fellowship provides will complement his education at the College, allowing him to utilize the academic skills he has acquired while also providing prospects for further intellectual and personal development not available in an academic setting. Furthermore, he believes this year will provide a strong foundation for his future studies and professional work.

“It has been a great joy to share this with everyone who has helped me along the way, both directly in the application process and otherwise,” Lewis said, adding that he is very grateful for the support, guidance, and inspiration he received throughout the difficult application process.