Swindells Family Scholars named for 2016

January 4, 2017

In 2010, the OHSU School of Medicine received a donation for $10 million, the largest single scholarship gift in the school's history. An endowed M.D. scholarship program was established to create a perpetual source of financial assistance for outstanding 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 scholarship is one of the School of Medicine's most prestigious M.D. scholarship awards.

These talented scholars all come from different backgrounds. Among other things they have taught aboard sailing vessels, worked in Antarctica, led arts organizations, dominated the soccer field and performed on piano. But they all intend to use their talents to give back to their home state of Oregon in their chosen medical careers.

Join the School of Medicine in welcoming 2016's Swindells Scholars.

Juliet Alla

Name: Juliet Alla

Year: MS1

Hometown: Newton, Mass. (Portland, Ore. for the last 8 years)

Interests: My road to medical school was certainly not in the shape of a straight line. After college, I worked in basic research, both at a lab bench and at a field site in Puerto Rico, where I participated in research on the hormonal correlates of "friendship" in Rhesus macaque monkeys. I spent a number of years teaching oceanographic research skills to undergraduates aboard a sailing vessel while I worked for the Woods Hole-based non-profit Sea Education Association. More recently, I worked for the US Antarctic Program, where I supported the scientific research mission at Palmer Station in Antarctica. While the years of research science support and teaching took me across dark oceans and over many time zones, they also clarified my interest in working in the realm of clinical science to improve the health and lives of individuals. I am thrilled to have begun my training to be a physician at OHSU and incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve my community.

Ryan Fox-Lee MS1 2017

Name: Ryan Fox-Lee

Year: MS1

Hometown: Herrin, Ill.

Interests: Ryan Fox-Lee is a former patent attorney who realized that he wanted his work to impact the lives of other people. He had an epiphany one day while riding on the bus when he read an article about the lack of primary care providers. Three days later he was in a biochemistry class getting back into science after 15 years. Fox-Lee has taken a number of leadership roles during his academic and professional careers including the membership chairman in the Portland Gay Men's Chorus. He currently serves as class president and considers the Swindells Family Scholarship award very important in allowing him to go back to school to enter the M.D. program. 

Mary Nienew Birch

Name: Mary (Nicky) Nienow Birch

Year: MS1

Hometown: Portland, Ore.

Interests: Public Health and Political Science

Dennix Shi

Name: Dennis Shi

Year: MS1

Hometown: Portland, Ore.

Interests: I'm an avid soccer enthusiast - I play indoor IM at OHSU and also watch English Premier League games (that means waking up half-asleep, at weird times, on Saturday mornings). My other interest is playing music, specifically piano. My friends in my MS1 class and I recently formed a band and will be playing at school-related gigs throughout the year. I'm very excited about that! In terms of school-related interests, I recently became a leader of the Internal Medicine Interest Group. I'm strongly considering internal medicine because of the long-term patient connection and the emphasis on diagnostic and preventative medicine, and I'm extremely happy to be a part of that interest group and to be able to plan events throughout the year. I went to Washington University in St. Louis for undergrad but I would say my interest in health care began before that - it stemmed from my visits to China growing up. There, I saw health inequalities such as polluted air and malnourished children begging on the streets that made a deep impression on me and motivated me to find a career that would give me the power to improve people's health, especially the disadvantaged. At Washington University, I was president of the Asian American Association as well as a member of the Diversity Affairs Council. Additionally, I volunteered with the City Faces program which provided mentorship and guidance to socioeconomically disadvantaged children living in inner St. Louis. After graduating, I worked in Dr. Berezin's lab at the Washington University School of Medicine which provided a fascinating glimpse into the science behind medicine.

Kristin Morton, the fifth 2016 Swindells Scholarship recipient, is currently on a leave of absence with an expected return in August 2017.