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York College student will return to Liberia as part of plan to help improve healthcare there

February 23, 2018
Cathy Cooper pictured at a table in a biology classroom
Cathy Cooper

York College student Cathy Cooper, a senior nuclear medicine technology major from Coatesville who is planning for a career in medicine, will return to her native Liberia in May to interview healthcare professionals to determine how she can best help the people there.

Cooper’s travel experience is part of the opportunities available to her as a Graham Innovation Scholar.  Students from all majors are selected for this program, supported by York business leader Don Graham, which allows them to work alongside faculty to learn an “entrepreneurial spirit” by carefully planning their curriculum, by hands-on classes, through global travel experiences and through summer work and research experiences with local experts. The program invites students to solve real problems and create new innovations in the community through this value-added program.

As part of her application to be a Graham Innovation Scholar, Cooper outlined her future career goals . . . “to eventually go back to help make a difference in Liberia,” according to David Fyfe, associate professor of geography. “This trip will be stage 1 of this process, where she will go back to interview people involved in healthcare in Liberia and see what the needs are and how she can be of service to the people there. This is exactly what the Graham Innovation travel experience is about -- students being innovative and making a difference in their education. In the process, they learn skills that will help them in any profession. ”

Two other Graham Innovation Scholars will join her on her journey. Megan Chaney is a senior nursing major from Baldwin, Md., and Ezra Moore, a junior with a self-designed major from Dallas, Pa. “They are going to learn more about West Africa and Liberia as well,” said Fyfe, who will accompany the students on their two-week experience. 

Cooper has started a gofundme campaign to purchase supplies for the school she attended as a small girl in Liberia. “Children in Liberia are deprived of basic school supplies such as pencils, paper, and backpacks,” Cooper wrote. Her hope is that through the fundraiser, “I can collect enough supplies to provide every child with at least one pencil, a book, notebook etc. I would also like to start a library so kids can enjoy the satisfaction and rewards of reading.”

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