Web Exclusives: Alumni Spotlight

September 26, 2007:


From left, Nicole Brown ’06, Anne-Lise Maag ’06, and Molly Fay ’06 atop Kilimanjaro. (courtesy Molly Fay ’06)

Molly Fay ’06: Hiking for health clinics

Molly Fay ’06’s Princeton banner made quite a trip from her dorm-room wall to the top of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain. Along with Anne-Lise Maag ’06 and Nicole Brown ’06, who flew halfway around the world for the adventure in June, Fay lugged the banner up the 19,340-foot Kilimanjaro to raise money for health clinics in Africa where she has worked the past year. Despite the headaches, nausea, and breathing troubles involved in climbing, she didn’t have to do much convincing to get her classmates to come along.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a part of the world I had never been to,” explained Maag, who worked in a neurosurgery research laboratory at Stanford University and, along with Brown, began medical school in August. Brown had been a research assistant at a private medical practice in Pennsylvania.

After the six-day trek, Maag and Brown spent a month volunteering with one of the mobile HIV/AIDS clinics in northern Kenya, where Fay worked as part of Princeton-in-Africa through August. Using a combination of cars, camels, and bicycles, the clinics supply remote nomadic communities with HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, immunizations, and reproductive-health services.

A civil engineering major, Fay became interested in health care when she took an anthropology course. “I started becoming passionate about health care in impoverished areas,” she said. “There are no simple solutions. You can’t just throw your money at [the problem] and get an answer.” But money can help. Fay, who planned on returning to the United States in September to take pre-med courses, won a grant for one of the clinics after it lost its original source of funding.

The Kilimanjaro hike was cold, icy, and spectacular. The trio woke at midnight and climbed through the dark to reach the summit at daybreak. Then they waved their banner and headed back down, having raised more than $2,500 for the clinics — enough money to buy six months’ worth of medicine. P

By Anne Ruderman ’01

Anne Ruderman ’01 is a graduate student at Yale University.