Need-based, current-use scholarship for students in the Georgetown University School of Medicine
Awarded to students with financial need
Aimed at reducing the amount of student loans that School of Medicine students will need to finance their education
75.8 percent of School of Medicine students receive financial aid
Joseph Panarelli, M.D. (B’03, M’07) always dreamed of becoming a doctor, but growing up as a person of modest means, he had concerns about the substantial costs of medical education.
“The pressure of a lifelong financial burden can compromise your career decisions because you are always cognizant of your future debt,” Panarelli says.
But the moment Panarelli received a need-based Ruggles Scholarship to attend the Georgetown University School of Medicine, he started thinking of ways to pay the generosity forward.
“To have somebody ease your pain or lighten your load is the ultimate act of kindness,” Panarelli said. “I decided that I would do the same for someone else the first chance I got. I gave half of my first bonus check to my kids and half to starting the scholarship.”
When Eliza Uster (M’19) became the first recipient of the Joseph and Nicole Panarelli Scholarship, she immediately wished to meet and thank her donors.
“I feel stunningly appreciative. Other places didn’t make my heart pound the way Georgetown did, and this scholar- ship enabled me to choose Georgetown,” Uster says.
Like Panarelli, Uster knew from childhood that she wanted to be a doctor, but a tour of the medical center anatomy lab set her focus on Georgetown.
“I saw a leg and a medical student who looked like me, with a ponytail and glasses, elbow deep in studying leg musculature. And I thought, ‘that’s the goal: I want to be that girl with that leg.’”
Now a fourth-year student applying to residency, Uster plans to be a pediatrician. Panarelli, who is a Medical Alumni Board member and chair of the Fundraising Committee, recently hosted a reception for the School of Medicine with his wife, Nicole Panarelli, M.D. (C’03), at their home. They both look forward to meeting Uster and aiding in her pediatric dreams.
“Nicole and I, we know we’re supporting a great institution that trains the best students and residents in the country,” Panarelli says. “We’re proud of that.”