Madeline R. Rita portrait
2018-2019 Luce Scholar

In May 2018, Maddie Rita will graduate from the University of Virginia (UVA) as a Jefferson Scholar with a degree in Global Development Studies. Her academic training in both social and natural sciences has deepened her commitment to an interdisciplinary medical career alert to the needs of vulnerable populations. Maddie has had a variety of field-based public health research experience. As an intern at Asociacion de Comadronas del Area Mam, a Maya birth center in rural Guatemala, Maddie documented medicinal practices of traditional birth attendants, coordinated international funding projects, and traveled regionally to initiate partnerships with other local organizations. She took part in the UVA Public Health Field School, a community-based participatory research project that qualitatively analyzed circumcision practices and HIV prevalence among Xhosa men in Khayelitsha, South Africa. She is currently a member of an undergraduate team studying e-health technology for American epilepsy patients using a human factors design framework; their paper is being submitted to the American Medical Informatics Association. At UVA, Maddie is employed as a medical scribe for the University Hospital’s Emergency Department. She serves as a Vice Chair and Investigator for the University Judiciary Committee and is one of the university’s very few undergraduate teaching assistants for organic chemistry. In Fall 2017, she taught a semester-long seminar on reproductive healthcare through the Cavalier Education Program, which allows selected students to design and teach their own courses. In her free time, Maddie tutors incarcerated students at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail in English, science, and mathematics. Her poetry has been published in the Virginia Literary Review. A Colorado native, she also loves outdoor activities and home gardening.