As the 2014 recipients of the Blackwell Medical Scholarship at HWS, Nicole Zanghi and Benjamin Casola not only know that they want to become doctors, but they’ve already made it into medical school.
The Blackwell scholarship provides a unique opportunity for qualified first-year students who meet and maintain the standards of the program. The recipients are guaranteed a seat in medical school at SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine at Syracuse after their graduation from the Colleges, in addition to a full scholarship to HWS and a waiver for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
To qualify, applicants must be U.S. citizens, and either be from a rural background, an underrepresented minority or the first generation of his or her family to attend college. Applicants must also have minimum SAT scores of 1250 or an ACT Composite of 28, a high school grade point average of 90 or higher (or 3.7 on a 4.0 scale) and demonstrate commitment to a career in medicine, as have Zanghi and Casola.
Hailing from Pawling, N.Y., a small town on the Hudson, Casola has always wanted to be a physician.
“When I was in grade school, I set out to help people like my sister, who had dealt with type 1 diabetes since age 9,” Casola says. “I was about 5 at the time she was diagnosed, so all I understood was that she was sick and couldn’t eat sugary food. I promised her I would cure diabetes, and even though I may not accomplish this, I want to help others who face illness and sickness. Helping was something I had grown up with and now I wish to help as many people as I can.”
With this drive to heal, an aptitude for math and science, and the opportunity to complete the Boehringer-Ingelheim Medical Research Internship Program while in high school, Casola says he has gotten “a taste for both helping people and taking part in medical research.”
Zanghi, who will come to HWS from Queensbury, N.Y., discovered her passion for medicine while interning at Glens Falls Hospital, gaining a new perspective on the world of doctors, nurses, patients and health care and where she sees herself in it.
“I discovered how tremendously rewarding it can be to do some tiny favor for someone, like ice chips or an extra pillow, and how much it helps and comforts them,” Zanghi says. “However, my level of training limited how much I was able to help, so I aspire to gain all possible knowledge to provide all possible care.”
The Blackwell Scholarship Program is named for Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman physician in North America. She received her medical degree from Geneva Medical College (now Hobart College) in 1849, graduating at the top of her class. Click here for more information about the Blackwell Scholarship.
Casola has published a book of poetry called “Winterbrook,” was a member of American Legion’s Boys’ State, is a member of Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD), competed on the wrestling team and was a member of chorus. He plans to major in premed or biology.
“If I could triple major and quadruple minor without sacrificing my sanity and sleep, I would major in Biochemistry, Physics, and Music, and minor in French, Health Professions, Theatre, and Psychology,” Zanghi says.
She is a member of National Honor Society and an AP Scholar with Honors. Zanghi is also a member of an a cappella group that toured in the Czech Republic and Italy; participated in high school musicals; played the flute in high school band; was a member of the nationally-ranked Academic Quiz Bowl team and is a member of her church choir.