Mary Catharine McKeithen

Mary Catharine is from Dallas, TX and graduated from Davidson this past May. She majored in Biology and minored in Health and Human Values, focusing her coursework on public health and doing independent research on antibiotic resistance with the amazing Dr. Wessner her senior year. During her time in Warner, she served as kitchen manager, t-shirt chair, and head of conduct council over the years. Fun fact: Mary Catharine was a competitive baton twirler when she was younger!

Red and Black Ball holds a very special place in her heart as she studied abroad in Zambia before her junior year working at the Mwandi Christian Hospital, one of RBB’s benefactors. Outside of Warner, she was a member of Gamut Dance Company, serving as manager her senior year.This August Mary Catharine will be starting a fellowship at USAID, working in the Office of HIV/AIDS. She is grateful to Warner and Davidson for allowing her to pursue her passion for global health, specifically HIV/AIDS, and can’t wait to start this new adventure.

Mary Catharine strongly believes that the International AIDS conference will be a unique opportunity to gain scientific knowledge and exposure to many different cultures, all affected by HIV/AIDS. This experience will serve not only as a building block for her future career, but also as a way to share her passion with my peers and other members of Warner.  She is honored to be able to continue to use her voice to advocate for those affected by HIV, the women of Warner, and all of those who are committed to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  She is excited to hear all the different perspectives that will be at the conference.  She plans to absorb as much information as possible so she can walk away with a better understanding of the various viewpoints. She is also excited to see the Sex Workers Opera at the conference!

 

Mary Catharine on her time at the Mwandi Christian Hospital:

I have often said my time in Mwandi was one of the most meaningful experiences of my young life and helped set the course for my pursuit of a career in global health. Working in the Anti-Retroviral Clinic and the Maternity Ward showed me firsthand the devastation that occurs when there are not enough resources to treat the sick, be that appropriate treatments for infectious diseases such as HIV or basic tools like thermometers and blood pressure cuffs. I observed how cultural and societal factors play as big a role in determining health as biomedical players, especially in the HIV epidemic. During our time outside the hospital, our class met with local community leaders to better understand the culture in Mwandi and how it has both weathered and contributed to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The many lessons I learned in Mwandi opened my eyes to the need for the scientific, cultural, and personal understanding when fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic.