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Global - Health

Drexel Establishes Dornsife Global Development Scholars Program

May 5, 2014

Dana and David Dornsife and Shannon Marquez, PhD, with children and friends at Kechema Water Point in Ethiopia, a World Vision WASH project site.
Dana and David Dornsife and Shannon Marquez, PhD, with children and friends at Kechema Water Point in Ethiopia, a World Vision WASH project site

Thanks to support from benefactors Dana and David Dornsife, Drexel University announced the establishment of the Dornsife Global Development Scholars program. The new program leverages a partnership between Drexel and World Vision in 10 countries in eastern, western and southern Africa where World Vision and the Dornsifes have ongoing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects.

In addition to WASH projects, the program will also provide Drexel students and faculty with the opportunity to work closely with World Vision on interventions addressing water-related diseases, malnutrition and their consequences, and programs promoting gender equity, maternal and child health and empowering women and girls.

The Dornsife Global Development Scholars program is open to undergraduate and graduate students from all majors and disciplines at Drexel, who may apply for opportunities for summer field practicums, international co-op opportunities, research field experiences (such as a community-based master’s project for public health students), long-term dissertation field-work and more. Faculty will also be encouraged to serve as mentors and to help develop collaborative research projects, global classrooms and study abroad courses in Africa.

Shannon Marquez, PhD, director of Global Health Initiatives at Drexel’s School of Public Health, who is working directly with World Vision on this initiative, will serve as the program director. Drexel’s Office of International Programs and the School of Public Health Global Health Initiatives Program will manage the overall administration and coordination of the program—including the application, recruitment/selection and pre-departure orientation. Additionally, the University’s Study Abroad Office will be lending expertise in supporting the program, and co-op opportunities will also be developed in collaboration with Drexel’s Steinbright Career Development Center.

Valerissa Baker, an undergraduate student in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the first recipient of the Dornsife Global Development Scholars program. She is spending her spring/summer 2014 co-op in Zambia working with a World Vision WASH program. <a href="">Read more.</a>Philanthropists Dana and David Dornsife are well-known for helping to solve the biggest problems facing today’s world through their intelligence, talent, generosity and time. Their steadfast focus is on improving the quality of life for all people.

Dana Dornsife received her bachelor’s degree in business from Drexel in 1983. She is the founder of the Lazarex Cancer Foundation and serves as its president and CEO.

David Dornsife, a University of Southern California trustee and 1965 alumnus, is chairman of the Herrick Corp., the largest steel fabricator and contractor on the West Coast. Herrick’s projects include high rises, specialty projects, hospitals, airports and hotels.

Drexel is committed to enhancing its global impact through collaborations and partnerships worldwide and by growing opportunities for global experiential learning through study abroad, research, co-op, and other international experiences. Drexel is also committed to providing students with significant opportunities for exercising global citizenship both in its surrounding neighborhood and around the world.

More Information

Drexel students, faculty and staff interested in more information about the Dornsife Global Development Scholars Program should contact Idris Robinson, Global Development Scholars Program Coordinator at

Read more about water sanitation and hygiene issues in a recent interview with Marquez on the Drexel News Blog.

Media Contact:

Rachel Ewing