April 19, 2016

St. Catherine student awarded prestigious Phillips Scholarship

Chemistry major Elizabeth Juarez Diaz ’18 hopes to one day attend medical school, conduct cancer research and find ways to reduce racial and health disparities in medicine. Photo by Sharon Rolenc.

Elizabeth Juarez Diaz ’18 is one of six Minnesota private college students to receive the prestigious $16, 500 Phillips Scholarship. Her winning proposal “House of Hope,” in collaboration with Casa de Esperanza, aims to positively influence youth who are survivors of violence.

“From my project, I hope to empower youth who are survivors of violence to see themselves as leaders in our communities, to motivate them to aim for higher education, and to help heal through various media, such as art,” says Diaz, who is also a survivor of violence.

Through a model that focuses on identity, community, and healing, participants of the program will develop their leadership. Youth participants will use different forms of expression to design and create a public service announcement to share with family, friends and the community.

“I had the idea for this project for some time, but the Phillips Scholarship was the opportunity to get this project started,” she adds.

For Diaz, the scholarship provides an opportunity to serve a community that has been overlooked, and create a positive influence for others, just like those who were there for her in high school.

Currently majoring in chemistry with a minor in physics, Diaz hopes to go to medical school after graduation to earn an M.D. or Ph.D. to conduct cancer research, and look for ways to reduce racial and health disparities in medicine. She also hopes to open her own clinic for low-income individuals, or those without or ineligible for health care.

More about the Phillips Scholar Program

The Phillips Scholars Program supports potential leaders with outstanding academic credentials who intend to dedicate a portion of their lives to community service. This competitive scholarship is awarded to six students from 16 eligible Minnesota private colleges who have shown an ability to think creatively and serve their community. The Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women works to nominate a finalist from St. Kate's who will compete to be one of six chosen to receive the $16,500 scholarship towards their schooling. Since 1994, 89 students have been recognized with this scholarship, including eight from St. Kate’s — five of which were awarded in the last six years.

The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation supports programs that provide solutions in the areas of self-sufficiency, family strengthening, health care, education, independent living for people with disabilities and the elderly, good relations among people of all races and religions, and art as a vehicle to address social issues.

By Sophia Niemeyer '16