Jan. 22, 2013

Shaping Lives of Purpose: New alumna who benefited from scholarships earns accomplishments


Donna Hanrahan '12 graduated nine short months ago and already she has earned accolades in her field and for her academic work.

An aspiring expert in bioethics, Hanrahan won the Pollard Award for the Best Graduate Research Presentation at Yale University's Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics last summer. Her research focused on the role of social media and mobile technology in responding to health-related emergencies, particularly epidemiological tracking of cholera in Haiti.

She is now at Columbia University earning a master's degree in bioethics, where she is working with Dr. Robert Klitzman to provide an international comparative analysis of institutional review board standards in HIV and AIDS research. She will even present at the 7th International Conference on Ethical Issues in Biomedical Engineering at SUNY Downstate Medical Center on ethical issues surrounding commercial neurotechnology. The final manuscript of her paper will be published in Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine, An International Journal.

Most recently, Donna began a position as a research fellow at the Healthcare Innovation and Technology (HIT) Lab, an independent research organization that investigates the use of innovative technologies to improve the quality, affordability and accessibility of healthcare around the world. She is focusing on the ethical implementation of healthcare technologies and completed a field study in Los Angeles over winter break.

While at Geneseo, Hanrahan received a Student Association merit scholarship and also the Bridget Murphy Memorial Scholarship, a full-tuition award, for three years. Gifts such as the Murphys' and Student Association provide opportunities for students through Shaping Lives of Purpose: The Campaign for Geneseo.

She says the scholarships provided financial support that allowed her to take unpaid internships to gain the invaluable experience in the field that helped her get where she is. Hanrahan interned at the New York State Division of Human Rights and the Livingston County Public Defenders Office.

Hanrahan represents how Geneseo students who receive such support use their Geneseo education and experience to make a difference in meaningful ways.

"When I received the scholarship from the Murphys, I felt motivated by their support," says Hanrahan. "They invested in me, and I wanted to prove to them that their investment didn't go to waste. My hard work was a way of saying thanks and to demonstrate that their contribution made a positive effect on my experience at Geneseo. I would love to give that same motivation to a student in the future."