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Alumnus awarded fellowships to study lymphoma care in Botswana

  • A portrait of Michael Dykstra

Posted on July 11, 2018

Grand Valley alumnus Michael Dykstra, '15, will travel to Botswana for the year to work on a clinical point of care for lymphoma patients, thanks in part to being awarded several prestigious and competitive fellowships.

Dykstra, currently completing his third year at Harvard Medical School, will conduct his research during the 2018-19 academic year. His research will be funded by a combination of a Fulbright U.S. Student scholar award, a Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellowship award and the Kennedy Knox and Sheldon Harvard Graduate School Fellowship.

Dykstra said he hopes to be able to develop a skillset in implementing technology in a global health environment during his research year.

"I hope to learn about navigating the social dynamics of doing research in a host country and interacting with clinical personnel," Dykstra said. "There will always be systems issues which must be improved, and technology from the U.S. is certainly a part of that, but often there are innovations which are best suited for the infrastructure of developing settings. My hope is that this project of diving deep into the implementation of one particular device will equip me to work in this sphere more broadly in the future."

He said he hopes to spend some of his spare time working on photography to capture the natural beauty of the area. His blog about the experience will be hosted at dykstraphotos.com.

Following his year of research abroad, Dykstra plans to continue his research domestically and will graduate in 2020.

As a student at Grand Valley, Dykstra was the recipient of a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship where he studied urban and rural health care disparities in medicine in Peru and Guatemala. He said those study abroad experiences helped him grow to appreciate learning about other cultures while developing a deeper appreciation for his own.

Dykstra also received a travel award to attend the World Molecular Imaging Congress, the Robert Byrd Scholarship, MAS4 Scholarship, the Ruth Chamberlain Global Issues Scholarship and was inducted as a member into the Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Pi Sigma Honors societies. Dykstra was a physics major, mathematics minor, and a member of the Frederik Meijer Honors College.

Students and recent alumni who are interested in learning more about Fulbright opportunities or other competitive scholarships and fellowships can contact Elizabeth Lambert, director of Grand Valley's Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships at lamberel@gvsu.edu.

More information on Fulbright awards can be found online at https://us.fulbrightonline.org.