Scholarship recipient has high hopes for “Giving Back”
Jacqueline McLatchy, ’13, remembers when she learned she would become a Hershey Company Scholar. “I was excited,” she says. “Getting that scholarship afforded me the opportunity to work less and devote more time to my studies.”
Still, McLatchy knows firsthand the challenge of real-world juggling. Growing up in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, everyday life overflowed with household duties. The eldest of four children, McLatchy helped her siblings with their homework and escorted them to afterschool activities while her mother worked several jobs just to scrape by.
“My mom worked very hard, but despite her best efforts it’s difficult to provide for four kids,” she says. Even so, McLatchy found the time to delve into multiple fields of interest including academic clubs, swim teams, and the Special Olympics.
After graduating from Spring Grove High School, McLatchy went to Rochester Institute of Technology on a full academic scholarship. As a student, she became fascinated by developmental biology and doing research. At the same time, she worked as a rehabilitation specialist at a residence for children and adolescents with developmental disabilities.
“Over the past several years I’ve seen a lot of young men and women who had mental and physical disabilities that could have been prevented if the mothers had been given better information,” she says. “Something as simple as fetal alcohol syndrome is 100 percent preventable, if women just knew that when they’re pregnant they can’t drink alcohol.”
While balancing a full-time job with a full class load wasn’t easy, it laid the groundwork for her calling in life. After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology and gaining a perspective on the pressing need to reach more women with better information on health-promoting behaviors and reproductive health, McLatchy came to Penn State College of Medicine with an interest in high-risk obstetrics and gynecology.
“My hope is to work with mothers during their pregnancy, either to help prevent some of these developmental problems, or to provide them with the best treatment possible,” she says. To that end, she plans to pursue a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine.
“I’d like to serve in an underserved or rural area, where women don’t always get the type of prenatal care that they need,” she says. “I think stressing how important it is to see a doctor and have continuous care during pregnancy can really improve the quality of life for children.”
McLatchy is one of many students at the College of Medicine who has benefitted from the generosity of The Hershey Company this year. Established in 2002, The Hershey Company Scholars endowment provides an ongoing source of scholarship support to students with high academic achievement and financial need.
Many student success stories have been made possible thanks to the legacy and support of The Hershey Company. To learn how you can help support students like Jacqueline, call the Office of University Development at 717-531-8492 or online at pennstatehershey.org/web/development/give/makeagift.
– By Paula Rasich