U of T medical student Nicole Mfoafo-M’Carthy named a Rhodes Scholar

Nicole Muffav McCarthy, a sophomore medical student at the University of Toronto, is one of 11 Canadians selected this year to receive the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

The Rhodes Scholarship covers the expenses of a postgraduate degree at the University of Oxford in the UK and is awarded to exceptional leaders of public vitality from all over the world. Identifies and supports young people who have the potential to make a positive impact in the world.

One of the ways Mfoafo-M’Carthy seeks to make an impact is through research. She has a keen interest in workplace politics related to gender, disability, and intersectionality.

“Work is a huge part of many people’s lives, but the differences between people’s experiences of different genders are often overlooked – particularly how gender interacts with our social identities and other situations such as disability,” she said. “There is a huge opportunity to explore what can make workplaces safer and better for everyone.”

Mfoafo-M’Carthy, a MD student at U of T’s Temerty School of Medicine, began exploring this field during her undergraduate studies at the University of Calgary. Her thesis focused on mental health in gender workplaces, and how employers can create more inclusive policies that consider diversity and individual needs.

In U of T, Mfoafo-M’Carthy qualitatively assesses moral damage–the cognitive and emotional response after events that go against a person’s moral code–in long-term care workers. As part of the project, Mfoafo-M’Carthy is looking at how people working in long-term care have been exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic, and what could have been done to better support them. At Oxford University, she plans to pursue her interest in the intersection between health and politics.

Mfufu McCarthy, who is also a junior fellow at Massey College, says she’s always intended to get a master’s degree or a Ph.D., but she wasn’t sure about the timing. She never dreamed that one of the most famous scholarships in the world would give her the opportunity.

As she prepares to join a network of more than 4,500 Rhodes Scholars worldwide, Mfuva-McCarthy says her story is that of a community.

“If someone had told me when I arrived at U of T last fall that I would become a Rhodes scholar, I would have never imagined it,” she says. “But over time, and with more exposure to opportunities here, I was able to see how that opportunity aligns with what I wanted for myself. I was fortunate to receive a lot of support from the people here at U of T.”

Among its supporters, Mfoafo-M’Carthy lists U of T . faculty Elite CooperAnd Marcus LowAnd Tony Pignatelo And Jennifer Bryan, who was her mentor through the Diversity Mentoring Program. She also credits the resident neurologist Victoria Redman, who encouraged her to apply to Rhodes, and noted that several faculty members offered their support throughout the application process, helping her prepare for the two-day interview.

Mfoafo-M’Carthy says her experience as a trainee has helped cement her commitment to mentoring others in the community. She received mentorship through the support community and after being accepted into the MD program, she herself became a mentor.

Mfoafo-M’Carthy is highly involved with the Association of Black Medical Students as a mentor and as co-director of community outreach. Additionally, she is a member of the OMA Women’s Committee of the Ontario Medical Association.

In 2015, she created Gurl, a mentorship program in Calgary for girls from immigrant families ages 9 to 13. Gurl continues to work and provide participants with a sense of community.

Mfoafo-M’Carthy also founded a nonprofit organization called Career Match, which ensures that young people are equipped with the tools and resources to make informed decisions about their careers. The organization provides networking opportunities along with job fair events to match students with mentors.

Within days of learning she was heading to Oxford, Mfoafo-M’Carthy began networking with other Rhodes scholars, including a few at University T. She says she is excited to begin her next academic adventure at Rhodes House in Oxford, but still receives The big news.

Mfoafo-M’Carthy will begin her studies at Oxford in September 2022 and will return to study on the MD program at U of T upon completion of the postgraduate degree.

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