Earlham senior Nico Quijano Franco is one of 10 global leaders chosen for the Future Nobel Laureate Scholarship in 2023.
Quijano Franco will travel to Sweden in December on an all-expenses paid trip to participate in the Nobel Week Dialogue in Gothenburg, Sweden. The annual event brings some of the world’s leading scientists, policymakers, and thinkers together to explore scientific topics through a global lens.
“Being chosen as a Future Nobel Laureate Scholar is an opportunity that I thought I could only dream of,” said Quijano Franco, a psychology major minoring in public health and business.
“We are a cohort of students studying at colleges and universities not only in the United States, but in locations around the world,” he said. “One of the scholars is from the same city I grew up in Bogotá, Colombia. We all want to make the world a more equitable and just place.”
Future Nobel Laureate scholars are enrolled in a virtual intercultural course through the University College of Dublin and pursue a project based on their scholarly interests. The cohort is also led on a tour of Sweden by an expert guide. The tour includes a visit to the Nobel Peace Prize Museum and other key attractions.
“Being chosen as a Future Nobel Laureate Scholar is an opportunity that I thought I could only dream of.”Nico Quijano Franco
Pursuing a career in public health
The scholarship will further Quijano Franco’s research interests in healthcare and help him pursue a career in public health. “My interest in public health began in high school at the United World College USA campus in New Mexico but was fully sparked through the several programs that the Earlham College Center for Global Health offers,” Quijano Franco said.
Under the mentorship of Center For Global Health Director Peter Blair, Quijano Franco participated in Earlham’s medical interpreter and cultural competency programs and interned with several healthcare facilities near campus, including Reid Health and the Neighborhood Health Center. With support from the College’s Epic Advantage program, he participated in a paid summer internship with the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. He also credits the Center with helping him strengthen his successful application for the 2023 scholarship in Global Health from the Flywire Charitable Foundation. The scholarship is awarded annually to a student with a demonstrated commitment to promoting health and wellbeing on a global scale.
Last spring, he participated in Earlham’s semester abroad in New Zealand, and pursued a research project that examined the healthcare practices of the Māori, an indigenous Polynesian community that is the second-largest ethnic group in the country.
“I believe healthcare is a human right, no matter race, socioeconomic or immigration status,” Quijano Franco said. “In New Zealand I spent a lot of time talking to people and learned how the country has done well with combining traditional medical practices within the westernized healthcare system.
“I believe it is essential to preserve cultural customs and decolonize the healthcare field,” he said. “My academic and volunteer work has taught me that preserving cultural customs is vital because cultural practices and knowledge systems contain valuable information about how to live in harmony with nature and with each other.”
Three consecutive years of Future Nobel Laureates at Earlham
Quijano Franco is the third Earlham student selected for the Future Nobel Laureate Scholarship in as many years. The scholarship is the result of a collaboration between the Forum on Education Abroad, the College Study Division of Education First and the Nobel Prize Museum.
Trevor Marimbire and Daryl Mifsud, Earlham graduates from the Class of 2022, were selected for the 2021 and 2022 cohorts, respectively.
“Earlham is a community of amazing people who are passionate about making the world a better place,” Quijano Franco said. “There are also many amazing people who work here and are equally passionate about helping students unlock their potential.”