A National Achievement Scholar, AP Scholar with Distinction, and salutatorian of her senior class, Shirley Delaleu was voted “most scholastic” by her peers at Commack High School on Long Island, New York. It was not all academics for Shirley, however. She enjoyed acting in theatre productions and writing for the school paper and literary magazine. She served as secretary of the National Honor Society and as an executive for the International Cultural Society. One of Shirley’s former teachers believes that “she leads through example and earns the respect and admiration of her peers; she’ll make a name for herself in whatever she chooses.”
Shirley attended Stanford University where she was a human biology major with a concentration in comparative health and healing systems. Her intellectual interests include national and international health policy. She pursued these interests through her positions as Health and Wellness Coordinator at the Stanford Women’s Community Center, peer health educator in her dorm, teaches at the Sexual Health Peer Resource Center, and counselor at the peer counseling center. After her first year at Stanford, she was selected to mentor a group of African American freshman in the University’s Partners for Academic Excellence Program. During college, Shirley also studied in the Stanford in Washington program, for which she interned at the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center; and later at Oxford, where she studied European health care.
After college, Shirley served as a Presdiential Intern at the American Red Cross’ National Headquarters, where she studied the issues behind mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Later she worked as a research fellow at the think tank, the Council on African-American Affairs. In 2003, Shirley enrolled in the MD/MPH program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. During medical school, she developed her interest in global health, traveling to Nigeria, Belize, Cuba, and Argentina for different service projects. She also spearheaded many of the World AIDS Day events at Mount Sinai and led several different student groups.
Shirley attributes her tenacity in life to having three older brothers. She claims, “I had to be strong and vocal just to be heard.”