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Two very different students share a common drive to serve

Macks Family and Brown Scholars plan to work in the community
Posted March 6, 2014

A Common Drive to Serve


SPH's Desmond Flagg discusses healthy choices out in the community, while Catherine Wilshusen, WSE '14, shares her passion for math. SPH's Desmond Flagg discusses healthy choices out in the community, while Catherine Wilshusen, WSE '14, shares her passion for math.

At first glance, Catherine Wilshusen and Desmond Flagg may not seem to have that much in common.
 
Wilshusen is an Applied Mathematics major at the Whiting School of Engineering. She graduates this spring and takes her Peabody minor in clarinet very seriously.
 
Desmond Flagg is a doctoral candidate at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, who has been involved in research studies examining how caloric information presentation can affect sugar-sweetened beverage purchases among disadvantaged youth – a real public health concern given the childhood obesity rates.
 
Yet, both say they could not have attended Johns Hopkins University without philanthropic support, and as a result of their studies, both are now able to pursue careers that serve the community.
 
While completing her degree, Wilshusen – the recipient of Macks Family, Bloomberg and Class of 1950 Scholarships – also worked part-time jobs, tutoring and working as a teaching assistant. Through these experiences, she discovered her passion for teaching and is now planning to get a master’s degree in teaching.
 
“As a teacher I'm really hoping to encourage everyone, especially girls, to look more into the STEM fields,” says Wilshusen of the science, technology, engineering and math areas. “I'm also hoping to bring my music background to schools, particularly ones where the arts have been cut.”
 
“I really want to work with students and try to help them get where they want to go to the future and give back,” she says.
 
As a child of a single-parent household and a father himself, Flagg wants to focus on health as it relates to father engagement among nonresident fathers and reducing health disparities in disadvantaged communities.

Flagg says of the C. Sylvia and Eddie C. Brown Scholarship he received, “They're investing in us, so that we can invest here. That is definitely what I intend to do. I feel indebted to both them and this city.”

“I will never be able to forget that whatever work that I will be doing would not be possible without this scholarship, without this opportunity," he says.