Ebola Lecture a Family Issue for Pre-Med Student

ebola lecture

From left, Wilhelmina Kennedy, Associate Professor of Biology Karen York, Dr, Catherine Bolten, Professor of Biology Margaret Lewis and Professor of Psychology and Director of SCOSA David Burdick.

Galloway, N.J. – The Ebola virus may seem like an illness that doesn’t affect Americans. But a lecture by Dr. Catherine Bolten touched very close to home for Stockton student Wilhemina Kennedy.

Born in Liberia, Kennedy’s mother was from Sierra Leone.  Kennedy came the United States with her family when she was four years old, and grew up in Galloway Township.  But family members remained behind, and some were lost to the deadly virus, including a cousin who was a medical student.

“My father, who also attended Stockton, wanted to go help,” Kennedy said. “But my mother said no.  He still worked to raise money and awareness.”

Now a biology major at Stockton, Kennedy also wants to be a doctor. Her father is an RN with a PhD in epidemiology.

Bolten has worked in Sierra Leone since 2003. Her lecture, Hunting for Viruses in an Ebola Hotspot addressed how scientists from diverse disciplines are trying to track down the source of the Ebola virus. 

Bolton said those who do not get sick are also interesting because it means they have previously been exposed.

“There are a group of women who never got sick,” Bolton said. “Why?  If they are immune it means the virus is not new.”

Bolton also talked about the political aspects of the outbreaks and how that affects the medical and social response to outbreaks.

Stockton and the Stockton Center on Successful Aging have hosted Hesburgh Lectures since 2005 in collaboration with the Notre Dame Club of South Jersey.  

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Diane D’Amico
Director of News and Media Relations
Galloway, N.J. 08205