University of South Carolina senior Leila Heidari has been named as a recipient of the Rotary Global Grant to obtain her Masters in Global Health at Oxford University in Oxford, UK during the 2014-2015 academic year. Heidari is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Five Points in Columbia, South Carolina, which is in Rotary District 7770.
A senior in the South Carolina Honors College, Heidari is pursuing a Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae (BARSC) degree in Environmental Health, with a focus on biology, psychology, environmental science, and public health. She holds the Class of 1939 Reunion Fund Carolina Scholarship, is a Palmetto Fellow, and member of Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa. Additionally, she received the 2012 Outstanding Student Volunteer of the Year Award, and received a Magellan grant to fund her research project "Developing a sustainable after-school gardening program that emphasizes nutrition and environmental education."
Heidari's interest in global health is supported by her numerous campus activities and research experiences. A member of GlobeMed, she is an active leader with both Project Vida and the Honors Council. She has done research with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, as well as with the Center for Excellence in Learning in Education, Science and Technology in Boston. Heidari has worked with Dr. Tim Mousseau's lab to complete the SURF-funded research project "Is radioactive contamination from Fukushima accident increasing genetic damage in animals?" She has also been involved with the Green Learning Community, Carolina Service Council, and the Newman Club. Alongside her studies at Oxford, Heidari hopes to continue working to address the needs of elementary school students by partnering with local elementary schools to establish a gardening and health promotion and education program. Both her studies and her community project fall under the area of disease prevention, one of the Rotary's six areas of focus.
Rotary is the world's largest privately funded international scholarship program whose scholars further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries and geographical areas by encouraging person-to-person diplomacy. Rotary Global Grants are valued at over $30,000, provide nine (9) months of study abroad, and encourage recipients to engage in community service work.
Heidari brings the university's total of Rotary Scholars to 83 since the 1994 establishment of the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs (OFSP) which assists students as they prepare applications for national fellowship competitions. To learn more about such competitions and view a complete list of the University's Rotary Scholars, visit www.sc.edu/ofsp.