Dec. 9, 2021

Alumna Nicole Mfoafo-M'Carthy is 1 of just 11 Canadians to receive Rhodes Scholarship for 2022

Cumming School of Medicine alumna is 20th awardee with close ties to UCalgary
Nicole Mfoafo-M'Carthy
Nicole Mfoafo-M'Carthy

Nicole Mfoafo-M'Carthy, BHSc ’20, is heading to Oxford, the latest University of Calgary alumna to be named a prestigious Rhodes Scholar. Mfoafo-M’Carthy first learned about the Rhodes scholarship while a Bachelor of Health Sciences student at UCalgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. She is currently a second-year medical student at the University of Toronto.

“Oxford University offers amazing programs with a global perspective. I want to combine my clinical learnings as a medical student with grounding in health policy to contribute to making health care more accessible and inclusive for marginalized communities,” says Mfoafo-M'Carthy, who will pursue her Master of Philosophy in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy while at Oxford.

“I am particularly interested in health policy, medical education and health systems leadership,” she says. Mfoafo-M'Carthy plans to examine important questions including: What tools can Canada incorporate from other countries to improve our primary health-care systems, specifically our long-term care system? How can we re-organize our primary health-care system to provide increased support for health-care providers to reduce burnout among staff and improve health outcomes for patients?

Active beyond her studies

At UCalgary, Mfoafo-M'Carthy was an active student in the BHSc program, a member of the Scholars Academy and a volunteer at the Women’s Resource Centre. She was honoured for her many achievements by being named class valedictorian.

“Personal and academic mentors have paved the way for me through support and resources. That’s why I make it my mission to support others through mentorship,” she says, acknowledging mentors including Drs. Juliet Guichon, PhD; Jesse Hendrikse, PhD; Gregor Wolbring, PhD; and Bonnie Lashewicz, PhD.

Nicole Mfoafo-M'Carthy,

“They, along with other professors at the BHSc program, have expanded my reach while teaching me to trust that my wings will carry me through. Choosing the BHSc for my undergraduate degree was one of the best decisions I have made,” says Mfoafo-M'Carthy.

"Nicole is a remarkable woman and mentor to many," says Dr. Ebba Kurz, PhD, associate dean, undergraduate health and science education and director of the O'Brien Centre for the BHSc program.

She has long been passionate about advocate for marginalized communities and the underserved. She is incredibly deserving of the Rhodes Scholarship and I look forward to seeing the positive influence she will bring to health and health care in the years to come.

The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and possibly most prestigious international scholarship program, enabling outstanding young people from around the world to pursue a postgraduate degree at the University of Oxford in England. A total of 11 Canadians were selected as Rhodes Scholars this year.

There have been 20 Rhodes Scholarships awarded to University of Calgary students and alumni, including 10 in the last 11 years. This is a remarkable record of success due in part to the work of a unique committee that helps identify exceptional candidates and supports students’ Rhodes Scholarship nominations.

UCalgary success with Rhodes Scholarships

“Having founded a community and university committee in 2010 to encourage young people who are applying for a Rhodes Scholarship, I am thrilled that the joint effort has led to great success for many University of Calgary students,” says Guichon, associate professor, community health sciences and paediatrics.

“No matter the outcome, we regard all our candidates as winners and encourage them to apply for other scholarships such as the Clarendon to Oxford, the Knight-Hennessy to Stanford and the Gates to Cambridge.  Many have succeeded in receiving such awards.”  

“The committee’s success is another example of the community and university working together to advance opportunities for Calgarians,” says Guichon.

2011 Rhodes Scholar Braden O’Neill, MD’15,
2014, Rhodes Scholar Aravind Ganesh MD’12
2014 Rhodes Scholar Yan Yu, MD ‘14
2015 Rhodes Scholar Bogdan Knezevic, BSc’15
2017 Rhodes Scholar James Thorogood, BSc’16
2019 Rhodes Scholar Rahul Arora, BHSc‘19
2020 Rhodes Scholar Emily Boucher, BHSc’19
2020 Rhodes Scholar Manpreet Deol, BSc’20
2021 Rhodes Scholar Christian Farrier, MD’20
2022 Rhodes Scholar Nicole Mfoafo-M'Carthy, BHSc ‘20

Rhodes Scholarships in Canada and the Rhodes Trust recently announced the Class of 2022 Canadian Rhodes Scholars, who will arrive at Rhodes House at the University of Oxford in autumn 2022. The 11 Canadian Rhodes Scholars join a class of over 100 from more than 60 countries worldwide to study at University of Oxford next year. “The scholarships recognize a set of timeless virtues — intellectual excellence, strength of character, energy to strive, commitment to serve and instinct to lead. We are proud of the opportunities that the scholarships provide to our most talented, passionate and charismatic university graduates,” says Richard Pan, the Canadian secretary of the Rhodes Trust and the chair for the Rhodes Scholarships in Canada.

Juliet Guichon is an associate professor, Community Health Sciences and Paediatrics. She is a member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute.

Ebba Kurz is the associate dean, undergraduate health and science education and director, O'Brien Centre for the Bachelor of Health Sciences program in the Cumming School of Medicine. She is a professor, physiology and pharmacology and a member of the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute.

University of Calgary’s Scholars Academy program supports, challenges, and connects undergraduate students with exceptional leadership capabilities, intellectual curiosity and strong commitments to local and global communities. It provides a foundation for these students to dream bigger and reach higher.

The University of Calgary Women’s Resource Centre promotes equality and builds community on campus. It offers a safe and welcoming place for students, staff, faculty and the community to connect.