Sam and Priscilla McCall Scholarship Recipients
David O’Neil’s quest for the big picture has served him well. He finds that his meticulous study habits often help bring to light new ways of thinking about problems. “My efforts focus on being able to understand the concepts being taught and the underlying story that brings the various elements together.”
O’Neil lived in Southwest Virginia until he was 10, when his family moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He has an early interest in pediatrics and is considering eventually setting up practice in the Roanoke area. “I’m so grateful for this scholarship. Having lived in rural Southwest Virginia, I know the need for better access to health care.”
When Dove began applying to medical schools, she cast a wide net and received a big response, with interviews at about 10 medical schools. “Virginia Tech Carilion was my very first interview. It wowed me from the first time I saw campus,” Dove said. “Every other school I went to, I was comparing it and seeing if it lived up to the VTC standards. To me, nothing was quite as awesome as this place, so that’s why I chose to come here.”
The son of a rural family physician, Adam Tate grew up in Carroll County, Virginia, in the far southwest corner of the commonwealth near the border of North Carolina.
“I always thought my life was ‘normal’ but I soon began to realize that my isolated rural upbringing was not the norm for most of my classmates,” Tate said. “I thought I needed to learn more about myself and my place in the world. I did my pre-med classes but majored in anthropology. It made sense to me since I grew up in a place, moved somewhere else, and realized my culture was not the only culture.”
Roberts grew up in the small town of Franklin, Indiana, then moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, to pursue an engineering degree at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Soon after he began his studies, he shifted his focus to math. While he was good at crunching numbers, something didn’t feel right.
“It sounds cheesy but I had this epiphany where I would be sitting in math class and think, 'Do I really want to do this for the rest of my life?'” Roberts said.
Alyssa Savelli has wanted to be a doctor for as long as she can remember. “When I was 5, I would just sit and watch Discovery Health Channel and watch open heart surgery.”
A learning disability as a child made Savelli second-guess her dreams. “As I worked with special tutors, I got over it, but it wore on my confidence for a long time. I still worried that medicine would be too hard for me.”
2016: Adam Tate and Ashley Nyitray
Gallagher grew up in a small town west of Philadelphia in the heart of Amish country. In fact, more than half the patients at the primary care practice he and his family used were Amish or Mennonite. The grass was green and the air was clean, but funds were scarce. Gallagher put himself through college at the University of Pennsylvania with grants, scholarships, and work study. He says he hopes one day to return to a rural area to practice medicine.
Reed grew up in a working-class family and is the first in his family to attend college. For his undergraduate work, he attended Johns Hopkins on merit- and need-based grants.