UND graduate awarded $50,000 scholarship to study in Scotland

Drive to serve others earns Kacie Baumler ’20 a prestigious Rotary Global Grant scholarship to study abroad

Kacie Baumler received a $50,000 Rotary Global Grant Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in occupational therapy at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo courtesy of Kacie Baumler.

Kacie Baumler was introduced to occupational therapy at an early age through the experience of a relative with a disability.

“I really saw how impactful the profession was,” said Baumler, who graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2020. “There was very tangible growth happening from my relative. Even small things were making a huge difference for her.”

Years later, after earning her bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation and human services from UND, Baumler is now on a path to apply her passion on a global scale. This fall, the West Fargo, N.D., native will join the master’s program in occupational therapy at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her studies there are supported through a Rotary Global Grant Scholarship that will cover up to $50,000 worth of academic fees and living expenses.

Aside from the prestige, a graduate-level Rotary scholarship also comes with a global service component, which reflects the mission of the international organization to foster sustainable economies, advance basic education and provide healthcare to underserved communities, among other goals.

An aerial view of Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland, where Kacie Baumler will pursue a master’s degree in occupational therapy. YouTube screenshot.

Once she obtains her advanced degree in 2023, Baumler plans to travel to Ethiopia to facilitate an interdisciplinary healthcare course for health professionals in the East African nation. She picked the project with the help of her Rotary advisor who helped her in the application process.

“I’ve really had an ambition to go to Africa, but I haven’t had a reason to yet,” Baumler said. “That was my proposal to give back to Rotary.”

Baumler’s future work in Ethiopia, however, will not be her first professional experience abroad. In 2018, she embarked on a mission trip to Kolkata, India, with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. There, she worked with terminally ill patients as well as children with disabilities. She administered medication. She fed those who couldn’t do it themselves. She helped others get in their beds.

“I was able to do very small jobs that were very important for the people that I was doing them for,” Baumler said. “You know, when you have people who are suffering greatly and experiencing a lot of physical pain, even the smallest tasks you can do for them make a huge difference.”

Baumler’s experience in India solidified her determination to pursue global healthcare as a career. She also hopes to one day teach. It is a desire prompted by her time at UND, where she was a teaching assistant for an introductory rehabilitation course as well as for an internship-based class in her senior year.

For her own internship in 2019, Baumler provided technological guidance to clients of Minnesota-based Rise, a nonprofit that serves people with disabilities. While at UND, she was also a member of the Student Occupational Therapy Association, the Rehabilitation Human Services Club and the Student Psychological Association.

Driven to serve others, Baumler has also worked as a camp counselor in Colorado and a behavior technician at the Anne Carlsen Center in Grand Forks.

“Kacie has an impressive history of service,” said UND Academic Support and Fellowship Opportunities Coordinator Yee Han Chu, who helped Baumler apply to Rotary. “I am so glad that her dedication to service is recognized and supported by the Rotary Organization. Her study abroad in Scotland is a wonderful opportunity for professional growth and aligns well with the Rotary’s mission to solve real problems across the globe through community action.”