Scholarships bridge the gap: MEDPREP students receive, prepare to give back

SIU MedPrep Students

By Jeff Wilson

For many, a career in the upper levels of health care can seem out of reach. Finding the time and money it takes to earn the necessary education is a daunting obstacle for most.

In 1972, the SIU School of Medicine established the Medical/Dental Education Preparatory Program, better known as MEDPREP. The program provides assistance to educationally and/or economically disadvantaged students, and it has helped more than 1,000 students matriculate into medical or dental school.

Even with the MEDPREP option, students face an uphill battle when it comes to paying tuition and bills, while juggling classes, work and a personal life. It’s in this area that scholarships fill the void.

A lasting legacy

A longtime biology instructor for MEDPREP, Shirley McGlinn passed away in late 2012. After her death, the Shirley J. McGlinn Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to benefit MEDPREP students. To honor Shirley’s contributions, MEDPREP is holding a special fundraising drive this year to endow the scholarship to ensure student support for years to come.

McGlinn was well-known for her support of students. She believed in mentorship and providing financial support. Along with fellow MEDPREP faculty members, she authored several editions of “Meeting the Challenge of the MCAT,” which helps prepare students for the test.

The scholarship is one of only a handful that support MEDPREP students, and like all scholarships, further support is always welcome. [A gift of any size to the Shirley McGlinn Endowed Scholarship fund will help us reach our $25,000 endowment goal and ensure continued scholarship support for students.]

Inspired to make a difference

Stacey Joseph lived with her family in Haiti for 11 years before moving to Florida in 2004. They came for a vacation, but family and friends urged them to stay and seek asylum in the U.S.

“My parents wanted to create a better life for me and my siblings,” she said. “I was fortunate to have that experience to live in Haiti. I was able to observe the suffering due to the poverty and the lack of medical services. That got me interested in helping people. I saw that even in the U.S. there were some areas that had similar issues.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Florida State, Joseph knew she wanted to be a physician. Her sister had a friend who was in MEDPREP, so she decided to apply.

“I knew that it caters to students that are underrepresented in the medical community,” she said. “I could tell by reading the information online that it was a family-oriented program. I needed that guidance.”

After being accepted, Joseph was awarded the McGlinn Scholarship.

“It was very inspiring to receive that scholarship,” she said. “I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be a MEDPREP student. It changed me as a person. Without it, I don’t think I’d be going to medical school.”

Helping the community

Oscar Castro grew up in East Moline and attend the University of Iowa as an undergraduate.

“I struggled to effectively study,” he said. “High school didn’t prepare me as well as I would have liked.”

Now, he’s nearing completion of the MEDPREP program and has two medical school acceptances on the table.

“The program showed me the best way for me to learn and how to implement what I learned,” he said.

Castro has had steady employment since his high school days, but receiving the McGlinn Scholarship allowed him to put more focus on his studies.

“It gives me some wiggle room,” he said. “During busy times, I can reduce my work hours. That has really helped me.”

While he hasn’t settled on a specialty, he knows that he wants to give back to his community and the program that opened so many doors for him.

“I would like to return to my hometown area and serve that population,” he said. “I want to help people who are in my former position and contribute to the MEDPREP scholarships. I think it’s important to help those people advance to where they want to be.”

Easing the burden

Chinue Wilford has always loved kids. She plans to go into pediatrics after her days in MEDPREP.

“Kids just bring a certain type of energy into a room,” she said.

Of course, becoming a doctor hasn’t always seemed to be a likely route for Wilford.

“Being an African-American female, there’s not a lot of representation,” she said. “There’s not a lot of people in the profession who look like me.”

Even with the opportunities provided by MEDPREP, financial assistance has been key to her success. The McGlinn Scholarship eased the burden on her and her parents.

“Financial aid can only do so much,” she said. “It was a great relief. My parents have helped me all they can, but I have other siblings that plan to attend college and also need financial assistance.”

Giving is important to Wilford, and she hopes to help others with her donations in the future.

“You never know what individuals are going through and what kind of impact you can have on their lives,” she said.

How to give

Donations can be made year-round at www.siumed.edu/foundation. For specific information on MEDPREP scholarship giving, please visit www.siumed.edu/medprep and click on “About/Scholarships.” On March 6, donors can help celebrate the SIU Day of Giving my visiting www.siuday.siu.edu and making a gift to benefit the scholarship, program or unit of their choice.

Transforming students into leaders

SIU Leadership Development Program

By Rebecca Renshaw

The SIU College of Engineering is one of very few STEM colleges (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the nation that offers a technical leadership program. The SIU Leadership Development Program provides a direct bridge from leadership training to a career as a technical leader. Founded in 2006 by Dick Blaudow, an engineering alumnus and chairman of the board of Advanced Technology Services in Peoria. Blaudow and his wife, Brigitte, established the program as a way to help develop the next generation of America’s technical leaders.

Bruce DeRuntz, professor of technology at SIU and director of the College of Engineering’s Leadership Development Program, says the program truly transforms these students into leaders. “To be successful, these students know they have to prepare for success. It’s great to watch the transformation happen in these students as they go through the LDP program,” DeRuntz said.

Breanna Whitley, a junior, serves as the president of the LDP and is a scholarship recipient from the National Science Foundation. When asked to describe the program, Whitley responded, “Where do I begin? This program is not just an RSO. We develop a family here.  We truly care about each other,” Whitley said.

The team of students works on several community projects throughout the year. Some of the most recent projects include building a handicapped ramp to the women’s center and laying down new flooring for the Science Center.

LDP members’ personal experiences

Breanna Whitley

Breanna Whitley

“I believe the best leadership is an act of love. We all care about each other and how we can make a positive impact on the world,” said Whitley.

Bob Lozar-McDonald

Bob Lozar-McDonald

Bob Lozar-McDonald is a senior and has been in the program for since 2017. He is a recipient of a National Science Foundation scholarship. “Traditionally, many engineering students are introverts. This program helps students develop those softer skills of building interpersonal relationships. Many corporations are willing to pay to develop those skills,” said Lozar-McDonald.

Andrew Paxton

Andrew Paxton

Andrew Paxton is a senior and is deeply committed to the LDP program.  “In the workforce, there is a demand for leadership but not many universities supply leadership training. It’s fantastic that we are able to enter the workforce possessing leadership skills and are ready to succeed,” Paxton said.

Celebrate SIU During the Annual Day of Giving

Save the Date: Celebrate SIU Day of Giving March, 6, 2019

On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, SIU will unite for a celebration of history and philanthropy.

Events will mark SIU’s 150th anniversary and promote the third annual Day of Giving.

The university’s continued success is directly connected to the generosity of its alumni, friends, faculty, staff, students and surrounding communities. That giving spirit is on full display during each SIU Day.

For 24 hours, donors are encouraged to make an online gift to the college or unit of their choice. The amount raised and number of gifts is tracked in real-time at siuday.siu.edu, including a constantly updating donor wall.

The first two years of the SIU Day of Giving raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through hundreds of individual donations. The funds have allowed the university to increase scholarships and enhance the student experience.

SIU supporters can help by signing up to be online ambassadors and sharing their excitement on social media. For more information, visit siuday.siu.edu or contact Rebecca Renshaw, associate director of development communications, at rebeccar@foundation.siu.edu or 618/453-1328.

 

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Dual Donations: Medicine and generosity in the Wilson Family

Dr. Margaret Wilson and Dr. Charles Wilson

Dr. Margaret Wilson and Dr. Charles Wilson

By Rebecca Budde

Dr. Margaret Wilson, a retired pediatrician, knows firsthand of the financial struggles of medical students.

“I remember what it was like to struggle with money while trying to complete medical school,” she said. “Scholarships for medical school are sorely lacking, even now.”

While cost of tuition at SIU School of Medicine remains one of the most affordable among public universities, medical students graduate with some of the highest debt – more than $210,000 on average – according to Erik Constance, MD, associate dean of medical student affairs.

“Scholarships are imperative for fulfilling our mission of sending well-trained providers in our central and southern Illinois communities,” Dr. Constance said.

To help future generations of female physicians, Margaret established a scholarship for female medical students at SIU. Her hope is that this scholarship will help make life a little less worrisome for the student and her family.

“These students have families, and they’re graduating from medical school with these huge debts,” she said.

While his wife’s generosity was bestowed on the medical students, Dr. Charles Wilson, a retired professor in SIU’s Division of Urology, wanted his gift to impact the work of his chosen specialty.

The SIU School of Medicine’s Founders Urology Care Scholars Program will support new investigators’ research and educational projects that benefit patients with urologic diseases. The funding will be used for basic, translational or clinical research in urologic diseases. The endowment is open to any donors who wish to support urologic research.

As Drs. Margaret and Charles Wilson enjoy their retirement, their son, Morgan Wilson, MD, ’05, is enjoying his career at SIU Medicine’s Division of Dermatology. Not only has Morgan generously supported the scholarship his mother began, but he also supports the Student Resource Fund and the SIU Dermatology Alumni Fund.

“I have enjoyed seeing the educational yield of the SIU Dermatology Alumni Fund, which helps to offset the costs of books, meetings, courses and equipment for our dermatology residency program,” Morgan said. “It is fun to witness the consequent learning.”

Though the Jacksonville-based couple and their son chose different medical specialties and different areas to give, all agree that they’d like to help support the mission of the medical school and keep quality physicians in Illinois.

“I’ve always appreciated and benefited from the SIU School of Medicine’s commitment to educational quality, and I’d like to support the continuation of this emphasis,” Morgan said. “As a native of the area, I also believe in the mission of educating physicians who will consider coming back to downstate Illinois.”

 

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