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'Cat Impact Profile: Meron Fessehaye '16

Meron Fessehaye '16A friendly face in the Union, Chambers, and 'down the hill,' Meron Fessehaye '16 serves the Davidson community in a multitude of ways and a variety of places. Whether encouraging students and staff to get flu shots in her capacity as a volunteer Health Advisor or organizing members and allies of the Black Student Coalition in demonstrations for social justice, the senior Africana Studies major, Arab Studies minor from Charlotte is known for her energetic spirit, scholarship and service to the community.

Fessehaye received the Goodwin-Exxon Award at the 2015 Fall Convocation, recognizing a high standard of character, good sportsmanship and giving to others. She emphasizes the need for students to think of themselves as a whole person, and take care of themselves holistically.

After graduation, Fessehaye hopes to pursue a fellowship and become a nurse practitioner who focuses on psychiatric care. "I really want to focus on how the field of psychiatry can improve in its competency and understand the milieu of where people come from," she said. "I've successfully taken advantage of the liberal arts experience to marry my interests, and focused my essence of what I want to do."

As the daughter of Eritrean immigrants, she also hopes to use her personal connection help the Eritrean community throughout her career.

With the depth of her passion to connect with and impact others, it is no surprise that Fessehaye wants to stay involved with Davidson well beyond her undergraduate years.

"I don't want to come back as an alumna and be this lofty, inaccessible person," she says. "I want to be transparent and be a real resource to students."

In all she does, Fessehaye emphasizes the importance of empathy.

"We need to look at differences and celebrate them, and acknowledge our prejudices, but not walk away feeling sad for someone else," she said. "Look at the agency they have to be an actor of change."

"In the struggle to acknowledge difference, there is only room for empathy, not guilt nor pity."