Our First Shining Star!

Mark Godding has accomplished many firsts in his young life, and is certainly destined for a bright and rewarding future. The New Bedford Star Kids Scholarship Program alumnus was not only the program’s first participant from New Bedford, but also the first graduate of the prestigious University of Notre Dame to receive a degree with dual majors in neuroscience and behavior in the school’s 273-year-old history.

Godding credits New Bedford Star Kids for providing countless opportunities that have changed his life. He is grateful for his sponsors, William “Biff” and Mary Jane MacLean, who sponsored the young student from the time he was a third grade student at the former St. Anthony Elementary School in New Bedford to his graduation from Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth in 2011. The MacLeans took a personal interest in him and remained in contact with Mark while he was in college. Godding also credits his mother Joan Godding, a single parent (who is in long term recovery from substance abuse and now works with women also in recovery), for her constant encouragement and powerful example of determination.

“She was very willing to humble herself and tell her story,” he shares. “She tells me that she lives vicariously through me. New Bedford Star Kids has given me a lot of opportunities that she never dreamed of.”

“New Bedford Star Kids wasn’t just a way to pay for school,” Godding emphasizes. “New Bedford Star Kids is a community.” 

Godding emphasizes that through the program, sponsors have an opportunity not only to make a difference in a child’s life, but also to impact their families. He adds that many years later, the MacLeans remain good friends with his mother.

After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, Godding attended the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University and graduated in 2019. He is currently doing his residency at Rhode Island and Miriam Hospitals where he has had the opportunity to work professionally with Star Kids Founder, Dr. Tim Flanigan.

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