Four years ago, as she was set to enroll at Rider University, Norma Lamo ’11 strongly considered doing so as a Biology major. The Clinton, N.J., resident already had an interest in the health field – perhaps inherited from her mother, a registered nurse – but now concedes there was one key hurdle in her path.
“I’m kind of squeamish,” admitted Lamo, who graduated magna cum laude from Rider on May 13. “And that would’ve been a problem in Biology, so, I decided to pursue health care from a business perspective.” It was an adjustment that paid dividends for Lamo, who eventually declared herself a Management and Leadership major. In Lamo’s case, however, her undergraduate experience did not cease when she picked up her diploma at Commencement.
Just days after graduating, Lamo was just accepted into the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, which presents highly competitive grants to recent undergraduate and graduate students. The Fulbright Program, established in 1946, has broadened the dialogue between the United States and other countries and seeks to nurture leaders to work together to address common concerns. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Fulbright U.S. Student grants include study and teaching abroad.
In earning this coveted distinction, Lamo – who was a participant in the College of Business Administration Honors Program – becomes Rider’s fifth Fulbright student in the past six academic years. She joins James Byrne ’06 of Westminster Choir College, Rebecca Lynch ’08 of the School of Education, Sarah Khatcherian ’08 of Westminster Choir College, and Ericka Kriedel ’09 of the College of Liberal Arts, Education, and Sciences.
Under the terms of her Fulbright grant, Lamo will travel to Malaysia in January 2012 for a 10-month stint during which she will teach English to Malaysian students, and is expected to devote some 25 hours per week to community involvement.
“I’ll begin with a two-week orientation, along with a number of other grant recipients,” said Lamo, who specifically chose her faraway destination.
“I naturally gravitated toward that part of the world because it’s the polar opposite of here, and there was a strong possibility I’d never otherwise go there on my own,” she explained, adding that Malaysia’s diverse wildlife, cultural differences and warm weather all helped make the south Asian nation an appealing option, as well.
Lamo had already accumulated some international experiences during her time as a Rider undergraduate, visiting London as a member of the Baccalaureate Honors Program during her freshman year.
“I loved London; it’s an absolutely beautiful city,” she recalled of the trip, the first time she had travelled abroad.
Lamo also travelled to Panama as a junior, an excursion that found her a bit more connected to her intended career path. In addition to her initial inclination toward biology, Lamo’s interest in business was whetted by a job she held in high school, working for a start-up owned by a family member, so integrating health care with the more commercial end of the business is doubly appealing. To that end, the trip to Panama – part of Rider’s unique Nature’s Business course – was doubly beneficial. The yearly class blends the distinctly dissimilar academic disciplines of biology and business by taking students from both on trips around the globe to examine the various facets of the two fields.
“I declared my Health Administration minor right before going to Panama, and used elements of that trip to write an independent study paper on medical tourism,” said Lamo, who may pursue a course of study in public health administration in graduate school upon her return. “I have an interest in both sides of it.”