By Alice Roche Cody
Yesterday, Emily Smith '20 received the first-ever Felicia B. Jamison Scholarship awarded by the Martin Luther King Observance Committee at a virtual celebration, the 51st annual commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Through the scholarship, the Morristown-based group honors the legacy of Dr. King by supporting a student who embodies the principles to which he dedicated his life, such as social justice, equal opportunity, and peace.
Emily, who will receive $2,500 toward her education at Boston University, was thrilled to receive this prestigious award in honor of her hero.
"Dr. King inspired me to do my best to help others in any way I can," she said. "I've worked hard to educate others about important topics like equality, equal access to opportunities, and issues that continue to affect the Black community."
At Gill St. Bernard's, Emily educated her fellow students as president of Gill for Diversity, a club that seeks to share diverse perspectives. In this role, she helped organize forums about racial diversity and differing political views. The most impactful one that drew the highest attendance focused on social justice. In high school, Emily also volunteered at the Interfaith Food Pantry and Homeless Solutions.
As a member of Congressman Tom Malinowski's Youth Advisory Council, Emily sought to make improvements on a national level. First, she researched and drafted a bill about criminal justice reform. "I was able to advise the Congressman on ways to better the criminal justice system and to stop the systematic targeting of minorities and minority men," she said. Then, as an appointee on the Foreign Affairs Task Force, she gave recommendations about how to make clean energy available to all.
"Like Dr. King, I believe that everyone should be able to meet their basic needs, and to me, energy is one of those," she said. "I advised Congressman Malinowski on ways to make clean energy available to everyone, especially poverty-stricken regions throughout the world."
Emily first got her taste for global political issues at GSB by serving on the Model United Nations, which sparked her interest in global public health. When Emily begins at Boston College this month, she plans to participate in Model UN and join the Community Service Club. "I always liked giving back to my community, and it's a great way to make friends," she said. "I want to be active on campus and experience everything Boston has to offer."
As for the future, Emily plans to pursue a career in medicine as a cardiothoracic surgeon. And it's not surprising that she aspires to join the World Health Organization in order to provide better healthcare to people in developing countries.