2013 Swindells Scholars pictured (from left) Poorav Patel, MS3, Bethany Laubacher, MS3, Mario Padilla, MS3, Liška Havel, MS3, Annie Mancini, MS1, Mari Nomura, MS2 (standing), Craig Rudy, MS2, Aubrey Frazzitta, MS1, Justin Lee, MS1
Photo:Caitlin Carlson / OHSU Foundation
About the Swindells Scholars Program
In 2010, the OHSU School of Medicine received the largest single scholarship gift ever in its history. The $10 million gift to establish an endowed MD scholarship program was made by an anonymous donor. The scholarship establishes a perpetual source of financial assistance for exceptional and distinctive students who have a high probability of positively contributing to Oregon’s future.
When the Fund Agreement was signed, the donor had not yet decided on the name of the scholarship program. Since then, the anonymous donor has decided to name the fund “The Swindells Family Scholars Program” in honor of the long history of support OHSU has received over multiple generations from the Swindells family. The donor will remain anonymous.
Meet the Scholars
Latest Swindells Scholarships awarded to nine medical students
August 8, 2013
In July, nine OHSU M.D. students were selected as the newest Swindells Family Scholars, one of the School of Medicine's most prestigious M.D. scholarship awards. The new scholars are Aubrey Frazzitta, MS1, Liska Havel, MS3, Bethany Laubacher, MS3, Justin Lee, MS1, Annie Mancini, MS1, Mari Nomura, MS2, Mario Padilla, MS3, Poorav Patel, MS3, and Craig Rudy, MS2.
These students have distinguished histories and strong connections to Oregon, reflecting the goals of the scholarship program. Each scholarship provides $20,000 in support per year of medical school.
They join Ethan Beckley, MS3, Andrew Dworkin, MS4, Benjamin Larson, MS4, Heidi Schroeder, MS2, Karl Tjerandsen, MS2 and Katherine Watson, MS2, who were selected in 2012, and inaugural scholars Danielle Babbel, MS3, Brian Garvey, M.D. '13, Rachel Pilliod, M.D. '12 and Katy Schousen, MS3, who were selected in 2011.
The Swindells scholarships began in 2010 when the school received the largest single scholarship gift ever in its history. The $10 million gift to establish an endowed M.D. scholarship program creates a perpetual source of financial assistance for exceptional and unique students who have a high probability of positively contributing to Oregon's future. The anonymous donor named the fund "The Swindells Family Scholars Program" in honor of the long history of support OHSU has received over multiple generations from the Swindells family.
"The Swindells scholarships allow us to further develop the growth and transformation of these students into medical leaders who will profoundly affect the health and well-being of Oregonians." said Dean Mark Richardson. "We continue to be grateful for the extraordinary vision of the generous donor."
These 19 scholars will be joined by new recipients each year, thus multiplying the scholarship's impact throughout the state over time.
Aubrey Frazzitta, MS1
Aubrey Frazzitta, 23, grew up in Lake Oswego, Ore. As a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation University Scholar at Duke University, Aubrey earned a B.A. in biology and visual arts. At Duke, Aubrey explored her growing interest in medicine both scientifically and artistically. Aubrey volunteered with the Art Cart in Duke Eye Center and taught a self-designed undergraduate course exploring the overlaps of medicine and art. After illustrating a published children's book, Aubrey donated copies to local hospitals and pediatric clinics.
Inspired by an invigorating research experience at OHSU while in high school, Aubrey pursued research in the division of infectious diseases at Duke. To complement her research experience by directly engaging with the patient population most impacted by the disease she was studying, Aubrey initiated a global health fieldwork project in the sub-Saharan country of Togo. She also volunteered in a local Togolese clinic, gaining a first-hand appreciation of the impact social inequalities pose in accessing basic health care. She continued studying the pathogenesis of Cryptococcus neoformans after graduation and is currently writing about her research as a contributor to a Duke anthropology professor's book on Togolese health care systems.
The same creativity that fuels her artwork has allowed Aubrey to flourish in research and confirmed her interest in academic medicine. "My exposure to art has also developed my emotional expression and ability to express creative ideas. As a doctor, these traits will be crucial in establishing trusting patient-physician relationships. Furthermore, as medicine evolves and becomes ever more complex, the creativity I have garnered through my art experiences will allow me to be a leader and researcher in health care."
After graduating from medical school, Aubrey plans to pursue a residency in a surgical specialty and hopes to practice in an underserved region.
"It is an incredible honor to be named a Swindells Family Scholar, and I am so grateful for this opportunity. This scholarship will allow me to focus completely on the numerous unique and enriching experiences I will have as a medical student at OHSU. I look forward to learning with, and from, my talented peers."
Justin Lee, MS1
Justin Lee, 26, grew up in Portland, Ore. He earned a B.A. in religion from Davidson College, where he had the opportunity to be mentored by several OHSU physicians, as well as spend a summer in Tanzania doing HIV/AIDS related education work.
After graduating from Davidson, Justin worked for a congressman in Washington D.C., conducting research for a health policy lobbying firm, and as an operations assistant at an international medical non-profit. This experience led him to a Peace Corps posting in Peru, where he participated in health education and promotion classes, disease prevention and sanitation campaigns, and assisted in a variety of outreach programs targeted at families with young children affected with chronic malnutrition and illness. He also learned Spanish and served in several US-based medical missions as a translator.
During this time, Justin discovered that he was most energized and fulfilled when working directly with people and able to offer impactful and technical knowledge to improve or make changes in their own lives. "I left these experiences with the impression that my interests and capacities in medicine all converge at the nexus of science and art, along with a deep desire to serve others."
While Justin is undecided about which field he will eventually pursue, he is currently most interested in internal or emergency medicine in an urban hospital and with diverse and underserved populations.
Annie Mancini, MS1
Annie Mancini, 30, was born in Rochester, NY. She earned a B.A. in history and environmental studies from Washington University in St. Louis. Following college, she worked in politics and then served as an AmeriCorps VISTA. As an AmeriCorps volunteer, she worked closely with culturally and socially diverse populations through community and faith-based organizations across Alabama. The lessons she drew from these experiences instilled optimism into her worldview. Annie believes that with dedicated resources, effective networking, and a willingness to get things done, lives and communities can be healed.
This optimism, coupled with a persistent desire to "make the world a better place," inspired Annie to pursue medicine. She successfully completed the Bryn Mawr College postbaccaluareate program in 2008, but before sitting for the MCAT she traveled internationally, worked in various settings from fundraising to research, and fostered the maturity and certainty that she believes will make her successful as a physician.
Annie has taken on community leadership positions as the president of her church choir and as a board member for the Portland non-profit, My Voice Music (MVM). Through MVM, she advocated for music education as a tool for emotional and social skill building for hundreds of at-risk youth in Portland.
After medical school, Annie hopes to practice in Oregon, where she will advocate for health promotion initiatives and champion access to primary care and preventive medicine.
"It's an honor to be named a Swindells Family Scholar. I am grateful to the donors and the gift they have given to the OHSU community. It facilitates my being able to pursue a career in primary care and instills in me a confidence that I can be a contributor and, more so, a leader, in the future of Oregon health care delivery."
Mari Nomura, MS2
Mari Nomura, 30, was born and raised in Portland, Ore. She graduated from Sunset High School in Beaverton, and attended Rice University in Houston, Texas.
Upon receiving her B.A. in psychology, she worked in advertising for Google, Inc. After four years, she found herself searching for something that felt more meaningful. Embracing her interest in health that had surfaced in high school and college, she volunteered as a health care researcher at the Safe Motherhood Program at University of California, San Francisco, and traveled to Zambia to test an intervention to decrease blood loss in women with pregnancy-related hemorrhaging. Emboldened by the local health care providers, she spent her spare time getting to know patients and shadowing doctors. From this experience she notes: "I was hooked. Here was a world of people dedicated to researching and treating critical problems despite challenging conditions, in order to offer their patients their best chance for a long and healthy life." After returning to Portland, she continued health care work as a research assistant in the Parkinson Center of Oregon at OHSU where she ran a study comparing the severity of Parkinson's Disease with balance, gait and cognition. These experiences reinforced her desire to practice medicine and help patients in a more lasting and fulfilling way.
As a student at OHSU, Mari has served as a Dean's advisor, representing her classmates and working with the school's leadership to address MS1/MS2 concerns.
Mari is interested in pursuing her residency in either family medicine or internal medicine and plans to practice in Oregon.
"It is an honor to be selected as a Swindells Family Scholar. I'm grateful for the Swindells' support and commitment to health care in Oregon."
Craig Rudy, MS2
Craig Rudy, 25, grew up in Gresham, Ore., and graduated summa cum laude from Oregon State University with a B.S. in exercise and sports science.
His interest in medicine began early in life, during middle school, when his mother began a nursing career. During high school, becoming a physician started to feel like a real career option as he watched his mother work at a hospital. The choice to attend medical school ultimately solidified when he was in college.
Aside from pursuing a career in health care, coaching sports has been one of Craig's strongest passions. He coached middle school football for three years in college at the Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis, and says it was one of his greatest life experiences. "I was able to coach the same group of kids each year as they moved up the grade ranks. This experience allowed for continued mentorship and growth for the kids not only as football players but also as people." Coaching gave Craig an appreciation for mentoring and the positive impact it has on people's lives.
After graduating from OHSU, Craig plans to engage in mentor relationships with students and colleagues that allow him to teach and encourage. He wants to practice in Oregon, though is unsure which residency path he'll pursue.
"To be named a Swindell's Scholar is an overwhelming honor. The support that I feel inspires me to continue to reach out to others around me."
Liška Havel, MS3
Liška, 25, grew up in Willamina, Ore. She earned a B.A. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Lewis & Clark College, where she was an Academic All-American in Track & Field (heptathlon). She also played soccer and was on the student-athlete advisory committee.
As a volunteer in her mother's middle school classroom, Liška witnessed a number of children who had long term effects of childhood illnesses and injuries that went untreated as a result of various health care barriers. This experience inspired her to become an advocate for the underserved; in particular, she hopes to one day ensure that all people receive timely, high-quality health care. She is active in community service, volunteering as a Tar wars coordinator, Turkey Baskets coordinator, at Health Care Equality Week, and providing immunizations in Doernbecher Hospital.
Liška also has strong interests in science. At OHSU, she has conducted research on sleep and mood disorders (working as an RA), PTSD after orthopaedic trauma, as well as health education interests in rural Oregon.
She was vice president of her class during the 2012-2013 school year, and is the current class president. Her goal is to become a rural physician.
"The Swindells scholarship is important to me because it supports two things; leadership within the School of Medicine, and pursuing your passion in health care by lessening the financial burden of medical school. I am honored to be a Swindells scholar because the Swindells board truly supports and encourages leadership while offering first hand advice from their own experiences."
Bethany Laubacher, MS3
Bethany Laubacher, 24, was born in San Diego, CA, and moved to Bend, Ore. in 2002. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame with BA in theology and pre-professional studies.
Notre Dame provided her with what she describes as a "wholesome education of mind and spirit," as well as opportunities to learn about both herself and medicine from different perspectives around the world. She has worked in various health care related fields, including policy-making on Capitol Hill, an emergency room in South Bend, a summer camp for kids with diabetes, and a traditional healing clinic in rural Mexico.
Her decision to pursue medicine was a response to the many opportunities she has had serving underserved populations. "I see medicine as a vocation to use my caring heart and love for learning to impact others in a meaningful way; I hope to become a family physician who works with the underserved."
Bethany's community service outreach includes volunteering at a primary care clinic, a rural Head Start, in an emergency room, and organizing a fundraiser for kitchen supplies for a hospital shelter in Mexico. While a student at OHSU, she has served as secretary of her class, as a volunteer coordinator at a clinic, and has gone on a 2-week medical mission trip to Papua, Indonesia.
She plans to pursue residency in primary care (most likely family medicine) and work in an underserved community, such as those who face the barriers of poverty, rural isolation, or cultural and language barriers to care.
"The Swindells scholarship is a tremendous honor and blessing to have received both in support of my medical education and goals, and as a reminder that all is made possible by people other than me for the good of others."
Mario Padilla, MS3
Mario Padilla, 30, is from Albuquerque, NM, but has lived in Portland since 2001. He graduated summa cum laude from Portland State University with a B.S. in science. He also graduated from Mount Hood Community College with an AAS as a physical therapist assistant (PTA). Mario is married and has a son.
Before medical school, Mario was a PTA at several local hospitals, working closely with many patients. He was particularly moved by patients who were receiving bone marrow transplants. Interacting with these patients and their clinicians showed him how health care affects lives in both positive and negative ways. "Seeing the successes and failures of cancer treatment every day made me realize I wanted to know more and be more involved in providing care."
Mario has enjoyed volunteering at local schools and nursing facilities. These experiences have shown him the importance of community, both on the large school district scale and the micro facility scale. He believes everyone needs a place to belong, and we all have to work together to create our communities.
"I am so honored to be a Swindells Scholar; this scholarship is such an important investment in the future care of Oregon. It speaks highly of Oregonians that we are willing to invest in each other for the betterment of all."
Poorav Patel, MS3
Poorav, 28, grew up in Brookings, Ore. He double majored in bioengineering and the study of religion at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
While in San Diego, Poorav worked in the outreach center at the Rebecca and John Moores Cancer Center, where he evaluated a medical fellowship that focused on training physicians on how to communicate and care for members of the deaf community. He was also president of Community OutReach Effort, a service organization that planned local and international projects. He has enjoyed volunteer work with children, including at orphanages in Mexico, Russia and Peru, as well as working in a home in Costa Rica for individuals living with HIV.
Poorav's time at UCSD motivated him to intern for Oregon Senator Gordon Smith in Washington, DC. It was during this internship that he decided to apply to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he earned a Masters of Health Science in genetic epidemiology and a certificate in gerontology. "The interaction between science and humanity is one that I have always found intriguing. The balance of that interaction as it is applied to health care is the art of medicine."
At OHSU, Poorav has served as a Dean's advisor, representing his classmates and working with the school's leadership to address MS2 concerns. He is in the middle of a two-year term on the OHSU Board of Directors.
"I am humbled to be selected as a Swindell's Scholar. Upon completing my training, I hope to be part of a team that strives to improve the baseline health of the populations we serve."