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Alumnus awarded $8,500 as he prepares to enter medical school

Alumnus awarded $8,500 as he prepares to enter medical school

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Lycoming College alumnus Zachary High ’18, a biology and Spanish major from Lock Haven, Pa., was named a Phi Kappa Phi Fellow, and awarded an $8,500 scholarship to help to defray tuition costs as he pursues a medical degree at Penn State College of Medicine in 2020.

Phi Kappa Phi honor society aims to recognize and advance excellence in all fields of higher education and society. The fellowship program has become one of its most visible and financially well-supported endeavors, allocating $615,000 annually to outstanding students for first-year graduate or professional study. High is one of 58 recipients nationwide to receive a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship this year. He was chosen for his outstanding undergraduate academic achievement, service, and leadership experience, as well as for his acceptance to medical school, and his career goals.

“What sets Zachary High apart from every student I have known in my thirty years at Lycoming is his determination to forge his own path,” said Barbara Buedel, Ph.D., professor of Spanish at Lycoming College. “Zachary was determined to immerse himself in Spanish with a semester-long international experience, forcing him to forego additional science courses that might have enhanced his medical school application. Other pre-med students might have opted to study abroad for a shorter time, but that option did not mesh with Zachary’s educational goals. Similarly, taking a gap year between college and professional school exemplifies his intentional planning and enabled him to work in the emergency room of two hospitals. Finally, he has deferred his admission to the Penn State College of Medicine in order to accept a Fulbright award to Vietnam. I believe that Phi Kappa Phi, in awarding him an $8,500 fellowship, recognized and applauded Zachary’s unique path toward the realization of his goals.”

High was recently named a Fulbright scholar, and is currently preparing to travel to Vietnam, where he hopes to improve his knowledge of the Vietnamese language and culture in order to connect with a wider medical patient population upon his return. High’s 10 months abroad as a Fulbright scholar will be spent teaching English to students at Tây Bắc University, as well as implementing programs to help students learn more about American culture.

“As people are the center of medicine, I hope to provide more holistic care by better understanding the diverse contexts from which patients come,” explained High, who has been working as a medical scribe in an emergency room the past year. “I am excited by the opportunity to live and work in Vietnam as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant before beginning my medical studies. I believe this experience will be incredibly rewarding, both personally and professionally."