Another DKU student makes it to McCall MacBain Scholars final

Jasmine Santos has been selected as a McCall MacBain Scholars finalist as she aims to become the second student from Duke Kunshan University to join the leadership program in as many years.

Santos from the undergraduate Class of 2024 travels to Canada next week to make her final pitch for a place on the graduate program at McGill University.

The molecular bioscience major hopes to follow in the footsteps of the Class of 2023’s Eldar Wang, who is currently at McGill as one of the first global recipients of the fellowship.

Jasmine Santos

“Jasmine is an incredible example of what we aspire for DKU students to become, and she has already established herself as a role model for future incoming classes of DKU students,” said Dr. Paul Stanley, associate dean of undergraduate studies at Duke Kunshan.

“Both Jasmine and Eldar join our growing list of fellowship successes with students admitted into programs such as Rhodes, Schwarzman, Yenching Academy, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and Erasmus Mundus.”

Students and graduates of more than 2,250 universities applied for the McCall MacBain program starting in fall this year.

Santos, from New Manila in the Philippines, is one of 37 international finalists picked from 277 candidates who made it to the regional interview stage. Last year 10 non-Canadian recipients were selected for the program, including Wang.

Each finalist was chosen based on their character, community engagement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, academic strength and intellectual curiosity.

Taking part in the DKU GSRM (gender, sexuality and romantic minorities) group color/pride run

Up to 30 of the 91 finalists from Canada and the rest of the world will be chosen to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree at McGill as McCall MacBain Scholars. They will participate in mentorship, coaching and leadership training.

Santos will receive expenses from the program to travel to Montreal for the final round of interviews and she is already looking forward to visiting the city’s museum and vibrant arts scene with other finalists.

A highly engaged member of the Duke Kunshan community, Santos oversees arts and intercultural events on campus, manages its main student-led publication as editor-in-chief and co-led the computational work of DKU’s award-winning 2022 International Genetic Engineering Machine (iGEM) competition team.

“DKU prioritizes creative exploration and student research, which speaks to my personal interests and strengths,” Santos said.

“My time in university has allowed me to engage with peers who were just as driven and self-directed. I believe that, especially with the iGEM competition, this enabled us to build effective products in a short span of time as a student-led team.”

Santos has authored two papers on additive toxicology

Santos has been contributing for several years to the World Youth Alliance, now teaching the human dignity curriculum to youth across several regions, and other non-profit organizations.

She has authored two publications on additive toxicology as DKU’s first Duke Scholar in Marine Medicine under the Somarelli Lab and aims to pursue a master’s degree in translational biomedical engineering.

“I hope to learn more about the ins and outs of getting the highest-impact medical innovations into international markets,” she said.

“This includes proactively navigating regulations and approvals, and anticipating challenges that may arise in the process.

“Developing this skillset will be instrumental in conserving the resources of the companies and organizations I will represent in the future.”

Santos at Duke University

The scholarships are the result of a landmark C$200 million gift in 2019 by John and Marcy McCall MacBain, then the largest single donation in Canadian history.

International finalists who are not selected for the cohort will be eligible to receive a C$20,000 (US$14,900 / RBB 106,700) finalist award.

“Integrity, kindness, curiosity, and courage are the characteristics we want to see in the next generation of leaders,” said Dr. Marcy McCall MacBain, chair of the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill.

“By connecting emerging talent to an outstanding graduate education and a community of peers and mentors, we hope to encourage positive leadership for Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and the world.”

Natasha Sawh, chief executive officer of the scholarships, said, “Our team is very much looking forward to welcoming the finalists – who have already distinguished themselves as the top candidates globally – to Montreal in March.

“We extend our warmest thanks to the universities that nominated them for this opportunity.”

More information about the scholarships can be found at

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