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2018-19 Scholarship Recipients

The Board of Directors is proud to present the following nine osteopathic medical students who received scholarships for the 2018-19 academic year.

Paula Archer, Alaska

Paula Archer is a fourth year medical student at Pacific Northwest University College of Osteopathic Medicine (PNWU-COM).  She hails from Alaska, and was this year’s recipient of an Alaska Osteopathic Medical Association (AKOMA) Scholarship.

Paula Archer, Alaska

Paula has been very busy during the 2018-2019 school year.  She held the position of Chair for the Student American Academy of Osteopathy (SAAO) Executive Council and, as such, she is fully in charge of the SAAO Convocation program for 2019 and, all other matters that fall under the Council. 

According to Sherri Quarles, Executive Director of the American Academy of Osteopathy, Paula is “a dedicated, hardworking member of the SAAO, and a great leader in her roles on the Executive Council.  Her quick thinking and flexibility allow her to adapt to changing situations and to delegate as needed to create good outcomes.  Her enthusiasm for Osteopathy and respect for others is infectious, leading to a good team environment”.

Michele Coleman, DO who is an associate professor at PNWU, states that, “Paula is a hard-working and caring person”.  She notes that Paula has volunteered at the Union Gospel Mission, the Eagles, and the annual Run For Life event.  She also understands that “she must nurture all aspects of herself in order to treat all aspects of others”.  Michele goes on to say, “her empathy and desire to learn are evident in her actions and this makes her a pleasure to work with in a clinic setting.  She has a good work ethic, balance, and love of osteopathy”. 

Paula looks forward to returning to Alaska one day and opening her own clinic.  She states, “As part of my desire to serve the osteopathic profession, I hope to inspire and teach future osteopaths.  I plan to host students for shadowing opportunities and clinical rotations in my clinical practice”. 

Paula currently helps with charity bike rides, the Mayor’s Charity Ball, and the Alaska Medical Missions Banquet.  She also currently volunteers with Single Track Advocates.  This group builds and maintains local trails for all users and helps create events to promote outdoor activities for adults and youth alike. 

Paula, the Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation is very proud of you.  Job well done.  You will impact this profession for years to come, and we wish you the best.

Garin Bergeson, Washington State

Garin Bergeson is a third year medical student and attends West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM).  He was the WOMA (Washington Osteopathic Medical Association) Scholarship awardee and hails from Washington State.  He is married to his wife, Morgan, and they have an infant son. 

Garin Bergeson, Washington

When Garin was young, he says, “my father would take me with him to deliver crops from our farm to neighbors who were in need.  As a potato farmer, he made a difference with the mantra, ‘Do all you can, when you can, as often as you can’.  I grew up in a rural farming community in Moses Lake, Washington, where the type of service I rendered often looked like digging a trench for free for an older neighbor”. He then went on to say, “As an osteopathic physician, I cannot take the passive route.  Instead, I want to make a difference in the lives of those I can reach, one person at a time”.   

Raeann Carrier, PhD, the Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at WVSOM, describes Garin as being “kind, personable, and humble”.  She says he has a “passion for serving others, a trait fostered by both family and faith.  He has completed a two-year service mission and also connected with local folks in need after the devastating floods in West Virginia.”  She goes on to say, “he was selected to join WVSOM’s Rural Health Initiative (RHI).  RHI is a program designed to enhance the rural/underserved primary care curriculum at WVSOM and designed to expose students to unique experiences that are part of the lifestyle of many West Virginians”.  She says that Garin has expressed that it is “incredibly important for both him and his wife to raise their family close to their own families in Washington and his heart and focus has always been for him to return home and to serve the people in the community where he was raised”.

Janson Rigby, Executive Secretary in the White Sulphur Springs Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, described Garin as a “leader in the local unit of our church who embodies the principles of leadership and service”.  Garin volunteers to be a youth leader to young men (ages 12-18) in the community.  He also volunteers at a local food locker where he assists in packaging and distributing food to individuals in need.  He served in various capacities such as flood disaster relief and forest cleanup projects.  Garin has served as President of the Sports Medicine Club on campus where he coordinated intramural sports, organized meetings, planned academic subject reviews, and participated in trainings. Described as “bright, and energetic, with a passion and sincerity that are contagious, he understands what it takes to be a leader and serve with compassion”.

Dina Shaper, DO, speaks highly of Garin.  She stated, “Garin treats everyone on campus with the same kindness and respect.  He is a positive and enthusiastic individual who contributes to the community on and off campus.  He has participated and supported a project called Health Yeah! which meets once a month to teach healthy vegetarian cooking, as well as offering teaching on wellness”.  She sums him up by adding, “I know few students who are as helpful, hardworking, and positive as Garin”. 

The Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation is proud to support Garin as he makes the journey back to Washington State, where he will no doubt serve his community well.  Job well done.

Omar Rachdi, Oregon

Omar Rachdi attends Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest (COMP-Northwest).  He is a second year student and he was the successful candidate for the Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundations “Wonderful World”  scholarship for the 2018-19 school year.

Omar Rachdi, Oregon

Omar was born in Portland, Oregon and raised in Troutdale, Oregon.  He states that growing up he had a “strong and compassionate role model” in his parents.  He describes his wife, Taylor as “meaning the world to me…she has inspired me to become the best person that I can be”.

Robyn Dreibelbis, DO, and Chief Wellness Officer at COMP-Northwest, describes Omar in the following manner:  Omar is a person who allows his actions to speak louder than his words.  He is a doer of things and asks the questions ‘how can we’, rather than ‘why can’t we’.  He has a kind and gentle demeanor which truly makes him a unique individual, and a person from whom I have learned much over the past year.  I am the faculty advisor for the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS), which is a national society whose mission is to maintain and recognize humanism in medicine.  Omar’s classmates overwhelmingly chose him to be their GHHS representative as he embodies the characteristics that are the foundation of GHHS:  integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect and empathy.”

Omar credits much of his moral compass to his early years as a Boy Scout, and holds the highest rank of Eagle Scout.  He states, “As an Eagle Scout, I try to lead by example.  Specifically, I try to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent, in each day of my life.  This is my code that I take with me into each situation, and it is the code that I will use with every patient I encounter”. 

During his short time at COMP-Northwest, Omar has been involved in many school and community outreach and educational projects, including:  Student Government Association Alumni Representative, Class of DO2021, Gold Humanism Honor Society (President, Class of 2021), Student Osteopathic Medical Association (Vice President), Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of Oregon Student Counsel (Secretary), Equity Alliance Club (Outreach Coordinator), Medical Gross Anatomy Course (Teaching Assistant), Lebanon VA Home, Community Service Learning Project, Nutrition in Medicine Scholar 2017-2018, Rural Health Fair Volunteer, The Children’s Farm Home for adolescents (Volunteer), and a member of many clubs on campus such as Internal Medicine Journal Club, SAAO Club, and Ultrasound Club.

John Pham, DO and Vice Dean of COMP-Northwest states, “Omar has such a warm and friendly demeanor.  He has a great ‘bedside manner’ that anyone he interacts with appreciates and respects him.  He is respectful, kind, a team player, and is always willing to help others despite his busy schedule.  Omar is very skilled with his hands and he embraces OMM (Osteopathic Medical Manipulation).  He is humble and modest about his volunteer activities, and is a genuine representative of his school.  A driven and an intelligent young man who encompasses diligence and perseverance to accomplish his goals.  Our profession will see great things from this young man.  He will be our future”.

Indeed.  Job well done, Omar

Alexi Shean, Oregon

Alexi Shean is a third year medical student at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest (COMP-Northwest).  She is an Oregonian and was the recipient of the Willis Women’s Scholarship. 

Alexi Shean, Oregon

Alexi tells us, “I have been working with Special Olympics Oregon for four years.  Through all my work with Special Olympics, I have found my calling for taking care of intellectually and developmentally disabled patients.  As a future physician, I have an obligation to be the advocate for my patients.  I will need to be able to look beyond the medications and diseases, to validate my patient’s feelings and build trust to be able to best help them be well. Osteopathic Manual Manipulation (OMM) is a great healing tool and avenue to building trust to allow my patients to know I am here to help”.   

Adam Kau, Director of Programs and Coach Services for the Special Olympics Program in Oregon, states that Alexi is a “Head Coach in the sports of volleyball and basketball”.    He goes on to say, “Alexi has been an exemplary coach, but she has not stopped there, she has gone above and beyond to help improve the program by getting her fellow medical school students involved in every aspect of the program.  Alexi took it upon herself to convince her professors that Special Olympics should qualify for their Service Learning curriculum.  After gaining approval for this, we had more than 15 students from her school volunteering to coach in four different sports as well as our Oregon Team Wellness health and wellness program.  For her dedication, her pride in her work, and her sense of initiative, I believe Alexi makes an outstanding leader and a great person in general.  She has brought much pride, accomplishment, and positivity to the Special Olympics Oregon name, and I know she would bring the same to your scholarship program”.

Alexi currently sits on the Osteopathic Physician and Surgeons of Oregon (OPSO) board as the student member.  David Walls, Executive Director of OPSO had this to say about Alexi, “I know Student Doctor Shean as an energetic leader who inspires others through her many volunteer activities.  She helped reorganize the OPSO Council of Osteopathic Medical Students, bringing more students into the organization and securing formal status as an osteopathic medical school club.  She is a compassionate, caring, and engaging individual who inspires the best in others through her honest and genuine approach”. 

Di Lacey, Assistant Vice President at COMP-Northwest states, “Alexi demonstrates a high sense of integrity, reliability and proficiency” and her “bright enthusiasm and willingness to step up when leadership is needed positions her favorably within any team”.

Alexi, your scholarship was earned.   Job well done.

Antonina Storniolo, Oregon

Antonina Storniolo was our Willis Women’s Scholarship recipient.  She is a second year medical student and attends Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest (COMP-Northwest). Antonina calls Corvallis, Oregon home.

Antonina Storniolo, Oregon

Before entering medical school, Antonina was already actively volunteering as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala.  Stephanie Skillman, the Project Manager for Healthy Schools (Peace Corps Guatemala) said this about Antonina, “I met Antonina in 2014 when she became a Trainee in the Healthy Schools Program, which was a program dedicated to increasing the capacity of the educational community and supporting actors to provide school-based health education to the primary students of Guatemala.  One of the first things that struck me about her was her outgoing attitude and desires to help her fellow trainees”.   

Stephanie went on to say, “Antonina was a notable leader amongst her peers, and was elected by her peers to serve on the Project Advisory Committee.  She developed strong mobilizing, networking, and organizational skills that contributed to her success in bringing together actors from different ministries, civil society, and non-governmental organizations to conduct participatory analyses, prioritize needs, create action plans, monitor progress made, and report on the impact of their work”. Of note, Stephanie stated she “appreciated her integrity”. 

Joan Paluzzi, PhD, Assistant Professor of Social Health and Healthcare Leadership and Assistant Director of Clinical Education at COMP-Northwest, describes Antonina as “Highly intelligent, socially engaged, thoughtful and impressive”.  She believes Antonina possesses a rare combination of a “genuine depth of experience in service to low-income communities (in the USA and abroad through her experiences in Malawi, Guatemala) as well as the intellectual capacity to critically process her experiences”.

Robyn Dreibelbis, DO and COMP-Northwest’s Chief Wellness Officer, states Antonina demonstrates, “excitement and enthusiasm” towards the educational process personally as a part of the larger class of 2021.  She is driven by the desire to be connected with the communities she lives in and is passionate about making a difference in the world”.

Dr. Dreibelbis notes that Antonina has been involved in many school and community outreach and educational projects through her volunteering efforts, including:  East Linn Community Clinic (Clinic Coordinator), East Linn Community Clinic research, Lebanon Health Career Ladder (Service Learning Project), Lebanon Health Career Ladder (Community Outreach Officer), Latino Medical Student Association (President), OB/GYN club (Treasurer), and a Rural Health Fair volunteer. 

To sum up her recommendation of Antonina, Dr. Dreibelbis says, “She is a genuine, intelligent, compassionate and driven person who has a heart to serve others.  She will do great things in her career.  She will be on the front lines of positive change and action on so many different levels; she will do these things not for personal accolades or seeking of the spotlight, but for the greater good, and the world will be a better place because of her work”.

We will be watching you here at the Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation, Antonina!  Job well done.

Jacob Thatcher, Idaho

Jacob Thatcher is a fourth year osteopathic medical student at Pacific Northwest University College of Osteopathic Medicine (PNWU-COM).  He is from the great state of Idaho, and is this year’s recipient of the A.V. Jackson DO scholarship.

Jacob Thatcher, Idaho

Jacob has a very long history of giving back to his community, and has strong ties to his birthplace where his family has a 6th generation potato farm He began volunteering as a freshman in high school on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board and also gained the rank of Eagle Scout during his years in the Boy Scouts. After high school, he served in Brazil for two years as a volunteer missionary. He has also lived in the Philippines and Alaska, but his heart rests in rural Idaho. In medical school he is the founding chair of a large student led, multidisciplinary consortium dedicated to furthering teamwork in healthcare. Over 1000 students and 400 community members have been involved in these activities. They’ve presented their work at 6 national conferences.

Jacob is the first student board member of the Idaho Osteopathic Physician Association Board. Nationally he is a board member of the Rural Health Congress and past Fellow for the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).  This year, he was named the 2018 Rural Student Achievement of the Year award through the NRHA.

Additionally, as a National Paul Ambrose Scholar, Jacob has started a program in rural Idaho to address chronic pain.  The Paul Ambrose Scholar Program is a community leadership cohort of health care students from around the country.  A grant and IRB approval has made it possible to host group medical visits to address chronic pain in Lincoln County.  While learning how to apply osteopathic tenants and principles into daily practice he’s also begun teaching them as the President of the PNWU A.P. Gold Humanism in Honor Society.   

Darren Coleman, MD, OB-GYN, worked with Jacob inside the residency program he attended during the 2018 school year.  Dr. Coleman states, “Jacob’s initiative, work ethic, interpersonal skills, and intellectual abilities are something PNWU should be extremely proud of.  In the past 5 years of working with students and residents, Jacob Thatcher excelled above all of the other students and residents.  He is a self-driven, intellectual learner, and will always be a leader.  He is not overbearing, and he makes friends quickly with patients, colleagues, and nurses.  He is a great team player and adds to the strength of the team.  A quick and bright young man with an insatiable appetite for knowledge, he is a goal setter and a goal achiever”. 

Suzanne Frederick, MSN and Executive Director of the Idaho Osteopathic Physicians Association, points out that Jacob is an active member of the following organizations:  The American College of Osteopathic Obstetrics and Gynecologists, American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians, American College of Family Physicians, American Society of Addiction Medicine, Boy Scouts of America, National Rural Health Association, Yakima Valley Inter-professional Education and Collaborative Practice, Idaho Rural Health Association, Idaho Association of Osteopathic Physicians, Idaho Medical Association, Idaho Rural Health Association, Lincoln County Historical Society, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   

Keith Watson, DO, FACOS, FADOME, President Emeritus of PNWU, believes Jacob to be a “Stellar individual with a very outstanding work ethic.  While on campus, Jacob was an active director in organizing the first Oral/Systemic Health continuing medical education program in our area.  He has served admirably as a team member of the Pacific Northwest Surgical Outreach with trips to Kenya, Uganda, and volunteer work for those populations”.

Dr. Watson goes on to say, “I believe he exemplifies the best of what the profession is attempting to create and will represent all of us as osteopathic physicians in the best possible way going forward”.   

Jacob, The Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation agrees with Dr. Watson.  We are looking forward to seeing where you go and what you accomplish.  Job well done.

Stormie Thompson, Alaska

Stormie Thompson is a second year medical student at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM), and calls Alaska “my home”.  She is this year’s recipient of an Alaska Osteopathic Medical Association (AKOMA) Scholarship.

Stormie Thompson, Alaska

Stormie thinks that Wilderness Medicine is an area where she can have a true impact in Alaska.  She says, “I would love to volunteer with a search and rescue organization, but additionally I would love to start a community education program.  I would like to have one geared toward the ‘weekend warrior’ and adventurer, and one for kids/teens/families.  You can find many survival-type courses in Alaska, but I don’t know that they teach no-nonsense emergency medical management.  I would focus on three specific skills:  How to properly splint an injury in the wilderness, teach people to recognize a true medical emergency, such as hypothermia, High Altitude Cerebral Edema, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, and internal bleeding after trauma/injury, and to recognize the need to call for help, and help people plan a way to get back from their hikes if someone should be severely injured”.

Poised, insightful, and engaging” are three words used to describe Stormie by Dr. Ronda Carter, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at ACOM.  Stormie is one of our best and will be both a competent and compassionate osteopathic physician.  Her heart is set on returning to Alaska”.

Dr. Daniel Rossi worked with Stormie, prior to her starting medical school, at the Alaska Colorectal Surgery clinic.  Dr. Rossi states, “I was initially most impressed with Stormie’s compassion and empathy when interacting with patients in our office.  It was, however, her organizational skills, responsible nature, and dependability that made a lasting impression.  She has moved over the years with her husband in support of his military career learning the lessons of sacrifice in life and taking classes while working full time.  Ultimately, these life experiences have created a ‘never quit’ attitude and confident but humble maturity that will serve as strengths as she strives to provide the best healthcare for her patients as a whole in accordance with the principles of osteopathic medicine”.

The Foundation also received an interesting letter of recommendation from Catherine Philipps Neal, an Environmental Scientist and Wildlife Biologist.  Catherine writes, “Stormie volunteered to assist the Fort Benning Conservation Branch in a gopher tortoise nest depredation study.  This research was of extreme importance in the conservation and management of the species on the installation.   Stormie is an outstanding leader who has made a difference in acquiring this research at the Fort Benning Conservation Branch.  She was extremely reliable and committed to full days, several training hours, team meetings, and had an outstanding performance within the peer group.  Stormie’s insightful intelligence provided many suggestions and solutions to troubles experienced in the field.  Her commitment and passion to the environment was evident in her work ethic.   Her communication, decision making, honesty, and team work efforts were unparalleled by others.  She is without a doubt a natural born leader and I cannot think of a better candidate to receive such an award”.

Stormie, neither could we.  Congratulations!  Job well done!

Brittney VanAusdol, Montana

Brittney VanAusdol is a fourth year medical student at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest (COMP-Northwest).  She hails from the great state of Montana, and she is this year’s recipient of the Shirley Carpenter Scholarship.

Brittney VanAusdol, Montana

Leslie Sorewide, DO, a Family Medicine doctor with Kaiser Permanente, told us that Brittney has “an infectious drive and positive attitude…she is intuitive and kind with people from all  walks of life”.  During the time she spent with her, Dr. Sorewide states Brittney always “showed up early, stayed late, was efficient, receptive to feedback and had an easy smile and innate curiosity”.  Dr. Sorewide believes that her “personality and skills make her one of the best medical students and will make her a leader and a valued member of our profession”.

Paul Weaver, DO, worked with Brittney at the West Salem Family Practice in Salem, Oregon.  His observation of her work was that she possessed an “exceptional empathy for the severely disabled and the geriatric population”.  He went on to say, “It was very moving to observe Brittney participate in hands-on treatment of my densely affected [pediatric] cerebral palsy patient.  Her demeanor and therapeutic contact demonstrated great tenderness, empathy and concern for this severely afflicted child”.  He believes that Brittney “combines a very high degree of emotional intelligence and social maturity with a genuine interest in patient engagement and their life stories.  She’s an eager learner, cheerful, inquisitive, and retains new information quickly.  She engages patients with confidence and has a comforting, nurturing approach”.

Elisabeth Guenther, MD, MPH a Director at COMP-Northwest in the Office of Career and Professional Development explained a research idea that Brittney developed from her own  experience as a rodeo athlete.  Over the past year, Brittney has presented her research at a prestigious medical research meeting in Carmel, California and is now in the process of submitting the manuscript for publication.  She states, “Brittney continues to be a well respected leader among her peers.  Not only was she elected to be President of both the Internal Medicine and Rural Health Clubs but she has served as the COMP-Northwest DO2019 Student Leader for a  new Oregon State University (OSU) Student Athlete Health Career mentoring program.  Despite her many accomplishments, Brittney remains the same grounded, thoughtful, and unpretentious student she was when she arrived.  She is passionate about osteopathic medicine with deep ties to the Pacific Northwest”. 

Dr. Weaver summed Brittney up well, saying:  She will bring credit and competency to the Osteopathic profession and spark wellness through her patients”.

The Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation whole heartedly agrees.  Job well done.

Matthew Zeller, Oregon

Matthew Zeller is a home grown Oregonian.  From the tender age of 3, Matthew lived in Milwaukie Oregon with his close-knit and supportive family.  He is married to the love of his life, Whitney, whom he credits with “continually sacrificing to give up many of her desires to make my vocation possible.  I am overly thankful for her”.

Matthew Zeller, Oregon

Matthew decided he wanted to pursue being a physician when he returned from a missions trip to Uganda during his college years at George Fox University.  I realized the impact medical care can have on the individual being treated.  This was the springboard to my pursuit of medicine”.

Matthew is a second year medical student at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest (COMP-Northwest).    In the short time he has been a student there, he has been involved in many school and community outreach and educations projects.  Some of those are Student Government Association (President, Class of DO2021), Sigma Sigma Phi, member (only those in the top 25% of each class based on academic performance are offered membership), Participated in DO Day on the hill as a student Ambassador, was a teaching assistant for the Medical Gross Anatomy Course, Academic Liaison for the Surgery Club, Lebanon Health Career Ladder and Lebanon Senior Center, service learning projects (he stated he “wanted to invest in the youth of Lebanon and care for the elderly community members as well”), was a Nutrition in Medicine Scholar, as well as numerous research projects, advocacy opportunities, clubs, and conferences. 

Dr. Paula Crone, Dean of the medical school, stated that Matthew has demonstrated a “selfless spirit and leadership ability” by participating in over 18 volunteer roles to date.  She goes on to say that “Matthew has demonstrated compassion, leadership and commitment to others”. 

Matthew was awarded the Floyd Henry DO/and Cleon Miller DO Scholarship.  The Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation congratulates him, and look forward to seeing what he accomplishes in the future.  Job well done, Matthew.