LEWISBURG, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Ten aspiring physicians at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) found their student loans a little more manageable following an Aug. 25 luncheon celebrating their selection as recipients of Encova scholarships.
A total of $38,000 was awarded for the 2022-23 academic year, with scholarships ranging in value from $2,000 to $10,000. The scholarships are funded by an endowment the Encova Foundation created at the school in 2016 through its Encova Foundation of West Virginia, when the organization was known as the BrickStreet Foundation. The Encova Foundation of West Virginia is one of the charitable arms of the Columbus, Ohio-based Encova Insurance.
Abigail Effingham, a WVSOM Class of 2025 student from Huntington, W.Va., said the scholarship funds will allow her to focus more on her studies than on the cost of attending medical school.
“Receiving the Encova scholarship has taken some of the burden off my shoulders,” Effingham said. “As a first-generation college student with only one parent who lives on a limited income, the financial stress of medical school is constant. This scholarship gives me more hope for the future.”
It was the second consecutive year receiving the scholarship for WVSOM Class of 2023 student Ryan Murphy, of Lancaster, Pa. Murphy was unable to attend the event in person because he is completing an out-of-state clinical rotation, but he thanked Encova in a video message played at the luncheon.
“I’m honored to be chosen for this scholarship for the second time,” Murphy said in the video. “It will help alleviate the financial burden that comes with medical school. Especially with [residency] interview season around the comer, I’m grateful and appreciative to have received this.”
Other scholarship recipients for the current academic year were Class of 2024 students Abundance Hunt and Keirston Sutherland; Class of 2025 student Thulasi Kulasinghe; and Class of 2026 students Manasa Dittakavi, Morgan Dunmire, John Gallagher, Margaret Giggey and Daniel Proctor.
James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., WVSOM’s president, said the scholarships represent the largest endowment provided through the medical school’s WVSOM Foundation.
“These scholarships have been important to us, and they come from a company that is doing good work in our communities,” Nemitz said. “As Encova has generated more dollars, one of the schools the company has been giving back to is WVSOM. [Encova] saw the need to generate scholarships in perpetuity so that medical students and other students can benefit from this gift.”
Since the 2017-18 academic year, $393,000 has been awarded to 52 WVSOM students through the endowment. Combined with an initial donation from the BrickStreet Foundation and interest earned from that donation, the company has enabled the WVSOM Foundation to provide $993,000 to 73 students.