Watson Fellow to Intern in South Africa

  Herby Jeanty
    Herby Jeanty, ’10 Biology, a Haitian native, Iraq veteran, and member of the Pforzheimer Honors College, will complete his Watson fellowship with a summer internship in South Africa.

Herby Jeanty will spend this summer in South Africa finishing his third year of a Watson fellowship as an intern with Hoops 4 Hope, a non-profit organization that promotes social changes through a basketball-life skills program. Hoops 4 Hope also partners with schools and children’s shelters to keep kids off the streets and help them face the many challenges of growing up in communities plagued with poverty, crime, and HIV/AIDS.

“Playing sports allows children to break racial barriers that exist among them and will also teach them how to be a part of the team. I will definitely enjoy my time working for this organization,” said Jeanty, who will graduate from Dyson College of Arts and Sciences in May 2010 with a degree in biology. He intends to attend medical school in fall 2011.

During the previous two summers Jeanty interned at Beth Israel Medical Center-Cancer Research Office as a Study Coordinator Assistant and Columbia University Medical Center-Center of Orthopedic Research as a Research Assistant.

Jeanty was born in Haiti and raised by his mother and her extended family until she passed away when he was six years old. He went to live with his father and immigrated in the U.S. in 1994 with the help of his aunt. He excelled in school and graduated from Prospect Heights High School in three and a half years in 2002.

Aware that his father could not afford to pay for college, Jeanty joined the United States Marines instead. He spent four years on active duty visiting Japan and the Philippines and served one tour of seven months in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was honorably discharged from the service in 2006 at the rank of Sergeant. During his service he was awarded nine military awards.

He enrolled in Pace University in the fall of the same year and a year later enrolled in Professor JamieLee Rizzo’s organic chemistry class and found his niche. He went on to work alongside Dr. Rizzo in the lab conducting research which he has presented at major conferences. He credits Dr. Rizzo with motivating him to join the Honors College and ultimately for being chosen for the Watson fellowship.

“Herby wants to be a medical doctor because of the pain and suffering he saw as a child in Haiti, where most of the illnesses and ailments around him were easily curable. Some of us have jobs, others have careers. For Herby, what drives him is nothing less than a calling – a vocation. He will stop at nothing to attain it. And knowing him, he will certainly do so,” said Associate Professor Chris Malone, who advised Jeanty on his Watson fellowship application.

Jeanty joins previous Dyson College Watson fellows: (2000) Ravi Gopaul and Thuyha Pham, (2001) Jennifer Freely, (2002) Steven Dawson and Eriola Pira, (2004) Kit Lee and Cristina DeLuca, (2005) Reggie Thomas, Alphria Alghali, and Lisa Jamhoury, (2006) Regina Genari and Jihye Lee, (2007) Brian Bonci, (2008), and (2009) Caroline Craig and Lorendra Pinder, as well as this year’s most recent recipients Sophia Eilbacher and Ethan Taylor.