Earthshattering Success: Graduate Survives Earthquake in Haiti Now Ready to Pursue Ph.D. at UGA

Posted on May 11, 2023

Though most students face hardships during their academic journey, Marie Delcy’s story of overcoming is remarkable.

Marie Delcy was born in Haiti. Her parents planned for Delcy to complete her primary education in Haiti and move to the US to finish college and graduate school, but those plans changed in 2010. On January 12, an earthquake registering a magnitude of 7.0 shocked the island of Hispaniola, bringing desolation to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Three after-shocks followed the initial shock, each nearly 6.0 on the Richter scale. Delcy’s school was unrepairable, and her home was unlivable. The earthquake claimed the lives of more than 220,000 in Haiti.

The destruction from the quake forced her and her family to relocate to the United States. Delcy finished elementary, middle, and high school in Orlando. Delcy persevered despite the challenges of adjusting to a new country and culture. She was awarded an ROTC scholarship her senior year and planned to attend Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. At a local college fair, Delcy met a recruiter from Fort Valley State University and decided FVSU would be a better fit.

Delcy enrolled at Fort Valley State University in Fall 2019 to study medicine. Her love for science enabled her to explore, experience, and engage beyond the field of medicine as she discovered other scientific interests. Delcy is obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Health Sciences.

She is now the first in her immediate family to graduate college. She has been accepted into the highly competitive University of Georgia Integrated Life Science Ph.D. program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. When asked why she decided to go into research, Delcy said, “I decided I didn’t want to be a doctor my sophomore year. With so many experiences, I realized I could do more to help people in research.”

Delcy ‘s academic success is more comprehensive than her acceptance into the University of Georgia program. She also worked with mentors in the Vertically Integrated Projects in connection with Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Leadership and Academic Enhancement Program. This prestigious program provides research opportunities to underrepresented students in STEM. Her work in this program showcased her ability to think critically, problem-solve, and collaborate with others.

Delcy was also selected as a Valley Scholar in the summer of 2022. As a Valley Scholar, Delcy participated in a rigorous program that provided her with mentorship, networking opportunities, and professional development workshops. Delcy is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and has served as an FVSU New Student Leader.

“Marie’s dedication to her studies and passion for science and research have led her to this exciting new chapter. Her success is a testament to her resilience, hard work, and perseverance. As she embarks on her Ph.D. program, we do not doubt that she will continue to excel and make meaningful contributions to biochemistry and molecular biology. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors,” says Fares Howari, professor and Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Delcy would like to thank Celia Dodd, Ph.D., Kaneatra Simmons, Ph.D., Betty Rogers, and Donald McCarthy. “I’d like to especially thank my parents for all of their support and sacrifices they made for me to be successful.” Delcy feels that fate brought her to the recruitment fair, where she learned about FVSU, and believes that her time here has prepared her for a path of continued success.

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