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Office of News & Public Affairs

Catherine Duarte Wins Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Scholarship


CHESTNUT HILL, MA (02/24/10) —  Catherine Duarte has been named the Boston College 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Scholarship winner. The competitive award, which provides for approximately 75 percent of senior year tuition, recognizes a student who embodies King's philosophy in their life and work.

Duarte, a junior sociology major in the pre-med program with a French minor, has ambitions to pursue a master's degree in public health before applying to medical school. President of the Boston College Cape Verdean Student Association, Duarte has volunteered at Tuft's Medical Center Emergency Room and tutored children English in Luanda, Angola.

   BC Junior Catherine Duarte

"Throughout my life I studied Dr. Martin Luther King's speeches and his role in history. But I really think his influence goes beyond that -- I feel his teachings have impacted all facets of my life," said Duarte. "I believe I have internalized his ideals, so much so that they are a part of me."

Duarte's parents immigrated from Cape Verde in the late 1970s. After receiving their degrees, her father, Virgulino, served in the US Army and later took a position as a Foreign Service Officer for the United States. The young family traveled to Egypt and Kenya, before Catherine was two. The Duartes often returned home to New Bedford for summer vacations and to visit family.

Living abroad provided a unique perspective, particularly on foreign affairs and humanitarian issues, Duarte said.

"I just really try to make the most of every experience that is presented to me," said Duarte. "You learn the most about yourself through service and giving back to the community. It's something that was instilled in me at an early age and something I remain grateful for."

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship has been awarded for the past 28 years at Boston College. Academic accomplishment, demonstrated leadership, active participation in a BC organization and service within the community are all requirements of the award.

"This year's finalists demonstrate a group of young people who are living Dr. Martin Luther King's dream," said Brenda Henry-Brown, a Technology and Customer Service Consultant at Boston College who serves as co-chair of the scholarship committee.

--Melissa Beecher, BC Office of News & Public Affairs,, 617-552-8047