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Student selected as Luce Scholar for fellowship in Asia

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Emory University senior Dana Toy was among 143 candidates for the Luce Scholarship nominated by 62 colleges and universities.

Emory University senior Dana Toy is one of 18 Americans selected as a 2012-2013 Luce Scholar for a year of hands-on experience and work in Asia, and the fifth Emory student selected for the highly competitive scholarship since 2000.

He was among 143 candidates nominated by 62 colleges and universities. The Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship program, and was launched by the Henry Luce Foundation in 1974 to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. The program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Luce Scholars each year.

"I am excited, honored and grateful to have such an amazing opportunity to follow my undergraduate experience at Emory," says Toy, a native of Wichita, Kansas, who expects to earn dual bachelor degrees in biology and sociology from the Emory College of Arts and Sciences when he graduates this spring. Toy’s placement in Asia has not yet been determined, but he says he expects it will involve research in an international lab. 

"This fellowship is unique in that I have the opportunity to really mold the fellowship to meet my aspirations in becoming a physician and clinical researcher. Ideally, I would like to be placed in a healthcare/clinical setting or research lab. For me, I hope that the Luce Scholars Program serves as a mechanism to initiate international-collaborative research," he says.

Since his sophomore year, he has worked as an undergraduate researcher in the lab of Arthur English, a professor of cell biology in Emory’s School of Medicine, investigating the role of neuromuscular synapse reformation following peripheral nerve injuries and its relation to functional recovery. 

He also was a Summer Undergraduate Research at Emory (SURE) fellow during the summer of 2010. In 2009, he participated in the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program at the University of Washington School of Medicine, where he learned about the current state of healthcare and its relationship with politics, volunteered in underserved areas, and shadowed physicians from various fields of medicine.

The son of Khmer refugees, Toy also has been deeply involved in the Emory community through various diversity initiatives with the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services as a senior coordinator and counselor for the Crossroads diversity retreats, a MORE mentor for first-year students and Issues Troupe cast member.

Toy also served the Atlanta community as a site coordinator and volunteer for Project SHINE (Students Helping in Naturalization and English) through the Office of University-Community Partnerships. The program allows students to volunteer with partner organizations and work closely with the refugee and immigrant population in Atlanta. He also spent time with patients as a volunteer at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

"Dana is a perfect fit for this award. He has rich and substantive research experience here at Emory, preparing him well for a placement in Asia, and he demonstrates the leadership and openness the Luce looks for in award recipients," says Dee McGraw, director of Emory’s National Scholarships and Fellowships Program. "In all aspects of his life at Emory, Dana promotes diversity and welcomes new experiences; he will thrive in a foreign culture and represent the very best of Emory and of the United States."

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