Coming from a rural community that cares has provided two members of the Hobart Class of 2011 with the desire and motivation to pursue a career in medicine. Michael Kane and Ryan Waffle, both of whom were graduates of the Chenango Valley High School Class of 2007, were named recipients of the highly acclaimed Elizabeth Blackwell Scholarship, setting them on the path toward attaining their ambitious career goals.
Through the Blackwell Medical Scholarship Program, Kane and Waffle will receive four years of full tuition and upon their graduation from Hobart College are guaranteed places in medical school at the SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine at Syracuse.
While both young men have the same objective in mind, they arrived at it from different personal experiences. “From my earliest days I have been fascinated with my grandfather’s ability to heal. I would sit in awe as he described how he touched the lives of people in rural communities where he practiced medicine, said Kane. “When I was given the opportunity to work side-by-side with him, I felt tremendous satisfaction and had a keen desire to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps by becoming a doctor.
For Waffle, the ambition to go into the medical field was not realized until much later. “My experience within the New Visions Health Careers Academy during my senior year of high school helped solidify that this was what I really want to do, said Waffle. “I don’t want to hold life and death in my hands by performing surgeries for a living. Instead, I’d like to build relationships with patients and their families. I want to take care of patients, their kids and their grandkids. That is why I wish to become a family physician.
Named after Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman physician in North America, the program provides a unique opportunity for Hobart and William Smith first-years. To qualify, applicants must meet personal criteria, have earned high marks in school as well as on the SAT and/or ACT and be committed to a career in medicine.
“This program has provided me with specific guidelines and standards that I must meet, and I certainly have a high bar to shoot for, said Kane. “But at the same time, because of this opportunity, I will receive a diverse education and be able to study abroad; something that I never thought would be possible when I decided that I wanted to become a doctor.
Recipients must meet the annual renewal requirements of maintaining a 3.0 grade point average, and greater than or equal to a 3.5 in their science courses. They must also successfully complete the Geneva General Hospital internship program and any enrichment activities required by SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine.
By taking just a quick glance at Waffle and Kane’s past accolades and scholastic distinctions, it is quite clear that both emulate the well-qualified individuals which the Blackwell Scholars Program seeks out. Waffle was a member of the National Honors Society and earned high honor roll, the Optima cum Laude in National Latin Achievement as well as the Latin Achievement Award from his native Chenango Valley High School. Kane, also a member of the National Honors Society, was the president of his Junior Honors Society and received the 2003 Claus Nobel Award for Academic Excellence as well as a Distinction Award from the Johns Hopkins University Center of Talented Youth Mathematics and Verbal Talent Search.
While neither is thrilled about waking up on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for an 8 a.m. biology course, it is clear that nothing can stand in their way of obtaining their future aspirations; not even the sound of an alarm clock bright and early in the morning.