PAMF Physicians Award Scholarships to Aspiring Future Doctors
PALO ALTO, Calif.–Three recent high school graduates are the latest recipients of college scholarships awarded by Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) physicians. The annual scholarships, created to help meet the need for future physicians, are awarded to deserving local students who are committed to becoming medical doctors.
The students, who are chosen through a competitive process, receive $25,000 or $12,000 scholarships that are paid over several years to help cover the costs of undergraduate studies and medical school.
Since 1993, PAMF physicians have funded and awarded more than 50 scholarships to outstanding local high school students who attend a four-year college and plan to pursue careers as doctors. In addition, PAMF’s philanthropy department has awarded eight scholarships over the years thanks to generous community donors.
“PAMF’s scholarship program helps make a difference in a few ways,” said Rebecca Leon, M.D., an internist at PAMF who helps administer the scholarship program. “It’s helping the medical community to meet a critical need for physicians in the coming years, while supporting gifted and dedicated students who might otherwise have difficulty meeting their academic goals.”
Recipients of the scholarships are:
- Julia Doubson, a graduate of Palo Alto High School, who will be attending Amherst College in Massachusetts. Julia is a National Merit Finalist and talented cross-country and orienteering athlete with a passion for genetics and medical research. She hopes to someday earn both an M.D. and Ph.D., combining clinical medicine with research on genetic diseases.
- Sienna Marely, a graduate of Miramonte High School in Orinda, who will be attending University of California, Berkeley. Sienna is this year’s Dr. Brian Paaso Scholar, a special Pre-Medical Scholarship awarded every four years in the memory of Dr. Paaso, a gastroenterologist who practiced his whole career at PAMF.Sienna is an accomplished student, as well as a school and community leader who volunteered at John Muir Hospital and the Casa De Gracia senior facility while also being a varsity cheerleader, president and founder of her local Filipino American Club, a peer mentor/tutor, a drama club member and a Women in STEM club member. Last year, she studied abroad for seven weeks in Xi’an, China, on a National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
- Lucas Melo, a graduate of Irvington High School in Fremont, who will be attending Columbia University in New York. Lucas is a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist and National Hispanic Scholar Ventures Scholar who became passionate about medicine watching his mother work as an emergency room nurse in their native Brazil. Interested in both clinical medicine and new research fields like bioinformatics, Lucas has spent his summer commuting from the East Bay to Stanford University for a medical research internship.
Earning a pre-med undergraduate degree while simultaneously pursing research and internship opportunities is expensive, and all three awardees said the scholarship would be a big help to them in realizing their dream of getting into medical school and becoming a doctor.
“The scholarship money will help me in college as I will be able to focus on my studies, research, and internships without having to worry about the financial strain,” Julia said. “Additionally, having a mentor within the community of PAMF doctors will provide additional guidance as I work towards becoming a doctor.”
Sienna, a middle child in a family of three, said that without the scholarship, she would likely have needed to prioritize working to earn money over positions that further her understanding of medicine and research. “The scholarship allows me to focus on my studies and find time to do the things I’m passionate about,” she said.
Lucas, also one of three children, explained how the scholarship allowed him greater freedom in the schools he could afford and the opportunities he could take. “I have three siblings and most of my college savings come from my summer job,” he said. “The scholarship will help a lot with the cost of housing, food, insurance, books and fees.”
Applications are accepted each year between January and April. High school students who are from the geographic region served by PAMF (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties), plan to become a physician, are in the top 20 percent of their graduating class and have financial need may apply. Details on the scholarship application process can be found at pamf.org/premedscholar.