Ms. Taneil Lee, a University of South Florida College of Public Health senior raised on the island of Grand Cayman, was awarded a $5,000 educational grant from Island Heritage Insurance.
The grant is awarded annually to a Caymanian student enrolled at an accredited university on a full-time basis. According to Ms. Dawn McLean-Brady, a member of the educational grant committee, the grant’s recipient must “exemplify academic excellence and demonstrate leadership experience as well as community engagement and service.”
Ms. Lee more than fills the bill.
She received her associate degree in general science on Grand Cayman but decided to move off the island to pursue her bachelor’s. “Grand Cayman is small, and the options for tertiary education are very limited,” she said.
With the ultimate goal medical school, Ms. Lee decided to set her sights on an undergraduate degree in public health. “I knew it would allow me to gain knowledge in areas such as environmental health, biostatistics, nutrition and other vital areas. This knowledge would allow me to be a well-rounded health care provider in the future.”
Ms. Lee decided on the USF COPH after she researched public health programs in Florida and saw the school’s high ranking. Now, just one year after coming to campus, she has already racked up an impressive array of accomplishments.
She has completed a Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program certification, assisted with a research project on breast cancer and taken part in the USF Health mentoring program known as Plexus. As part of that group Ms. Lee was able to help the underserved and homeless population in Tampa get medical assistance.
Back home, Ms. Lee has interned at Health City Cayman Islands Summer Program, where she observed surgeries and shadowed physicians. Another summer, she was awarded a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), the focus of which was to write a patient care plan.
“I was placed in the oncology department and my patient was a 20-year-old Caymanian who had testicular cancer. I attended lectures given by different hospital departments, observed surgeries, had discussions with my mentor and shadowed doctors.”
As part of the fellowship, Ms. Lee presented a research paper to a team of medical professionals, and because of the high grade she received, was selected to represent Health City Cayman Islands in India in June 2017.
“This was a fantastic experience,” Ms. Lee said. “I was able to compare and also contrast health care in Cayman and India. I was able to see a wide range of cases, which I perhaps would not get to see in Cayman.”
After her 2019 graduation, Ms. Lee plans on returning to Grand Cayman to gather more work experience before starting medical school in the United Kingdom.
“I am incredibly grateful for this scholarship because it has allowed me to help fund my final year at USF,” she said. “It shows that my hard work and dedication to becoming a health care provider are paying off.”
Story by Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health