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St. Bonaventure University senior Mackenzie Watson has been named the 2018 recipient of the Dr. Mary A. Hamilton Woman of Promise award.
Watson will receive the award at a ceremony Thursday, March 15, in Dresser Auditorium of the John J. Murphy Professional Building on campus. The program begins at 4 p.m. and is open to the public.
The award is named in honor of Dr. Mary Hamilton, ’59, retired associate professor and professor emerita with the Jandoli School of Communication. The Woman of Promise Award recognizes a female student from the Jandoli School who has excelled in and out of the classroom, set an example for peers and demonstrated great promise for success in future endeavors.
Watson, who is from Vestal, N.Y., is pursuing two majors, journalism and mass communication, and strategic communication and digital media, and has a minor in English.
After graduation in May, she aspires to pursue a career in the fashion industry. She attributes her success to the St. Bonaventure community and the guidance she’s received from her professors, which has help her build the confidence to become an effective writer and communicator outside of the classroom.
“I am incredibly honored,” Watson said. “I have always set goals for myself throughout my college career, but receiving this award goes beyond my expectations. It is also special to me because I am receiving it from the J-school — from people for whom I have a tremendous amount of love and respect. I am so grateful and happy to be this year’s recipient.”
Watson’s work experience is heavily focused on women’s empowerment. She said her experience as a sales associate at LOFT, starting during the summer of 2015 and continuing while home on school breaks, helped shape her view of the fashion industry as having the ability to empower women.
In August 2016, Watson became the senior editor of St. Bonaventure’s chapter of Her Campus, an online magazine dedicated to female college students. She has also interned for New York State Women Inc., a women’s empowerment and networking organization composed of chapters throughout New York with a variety of members, from politicians to businesswomen.
In the summer of 2017, Watson began to focus more on fashion as a marketing and digital media intern in New York City for UNLEASHED by Kara Ross, a company dedicated to empowering women through microfinance opportunities and job creation.
At UNLEASHED, Watson marketed the release of artisan-made, hand-beaded shirts produced by women in India. Working with a small team, she wrote company articles and press releases, researched and developed trend forecasts, created social media posts, styled for photo shoots and executed marketing campaigns.
The hands-on experience enabled her to learn exponentially about the effect fashion has on women on a global scale, Watson said.
Watson received recognition as an Intern Spotlight Winner in 2017 from the Career and Professional Readiness Center on campus, and she said the most important experience from that internship was learning what it means to walk into a creative work environment every day and contribute to a brand that works tirelessly for selfless reasons.
Because of that internship, Watson wants a career that focuses on empowering women and giving back.
During her time at Bonaventure, Watson also studied abroad in the summer of 2016 at Oxford through the six-week Francis E. Kelley Oxford program. This year, she’s a member of American Advertising Federation and also participates in The Fair Trade Campaign, which challenges the Bonaventure community to become aware of sustainability and social justice issues and advocate for the availability of fair trade products on campus. She said she has appreciated taking what she’s learned in Fair Trade into consideration with concerns to the production of clothing.
Michael Jones-Kelley, director of the Oxford program and Watson’s academic adviser, said she is, indeed, a promising young woman.
“I’ve watched Mackenzie move through the world on both sides of the Atlantic. Let me tell you, she is just as promising on the other side of the Atlantic as on this one,” Jones-Kelley said.
The keynote speaker at the Woman of Promise event will be Army Medical Corps officer Margret (Emborsky) Merino, M.D. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and was commissioned as a second lieutenant through the St. Bonaventure University Army ROTC program in 1990.
Merino earned her doctor of medicine through the Army Health Professions Scholarship program in 1994 at the New York College of Medicine. From 1994 to 1997, she completed her internship and residency in pediatrics with Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where she has consistently been involved since.
From 2000 to 2004, Merino served as staff pediatric hematologist-oncologist at Walter Reed and became chief of pediatric hematology-oncology service at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. In 2007, she deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, as the brigade surgeon of the 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team during Operation Iraqi Freedom and oversaw the treatment of more than 5,000 U.S. soldiers. She also guided the work of providers and medical officers and supported the local Iraqi community with medical expertise.
Merino returned to Walter Reed, and from January 2008 through September 2013, she served as the chief of pediatric hematology-oncology service, director of the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Fellowship Program and chief of pediatric subspecialty services. She completed a second combat tour as a pediatrician with TF-31 MED in 2014 in Afghanistan at Kabul International Airport NATO Hospital, where she provided medical care to local national pediatric patients as well as injured and ill NATO forces.
Her final assignment as an officer was as chief of the Department of Pediatrics at Walter Reed National Military Hospital in Bethesda, Md. Supervising a staff of more than 60 physicians and 250 clinical support staff, she also provided care to a personal caseload of pediatric hematology oncology and general pediatric patients. Having been promoted to colonel, she retired in 2016.
Merino lives in Silver Spring, Md., with her husband, Rolando, and four children and is now a medical officer in the Division of Hematology Products, Office of Hematology and Oncology, with the Food and Drug Administration in White Oak, Md. She provides scientific and regulatory guidance to industry and academic sponsors through all phases of drug development.
She also is a faculty member of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. A clinical associate professor of pediatrics, she has been a member of the university since September 2000. She continues to see pediatric hematology-oncology patients at Walter Reed.
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