WV Press Release Sharing
LEWISBURG, W.Va. – Eleven aspiring physicians at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) found their student loans more manageable following an Aug. 25 luncheon celebrating their selection as recipients of Encova scholarships. As of this academic year, the organization’s total contributions to WVSOM students have surpassed $1 million.
A total of $38,000 was awarded for the 2023-24 academic year, with scholarships ranging in value from $2,000 to $8,000. 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 a charitable arm of the Columbus, Ohio-based Encova Insurance.
WVSOM Class of 2027 student Autumn Horner, of Vero Beach, Fla., said she’s grateful that the Encova scholarship will make it easier for her to manage the cost of becoming a physician.
“Medical school is a huge financial burden, and I’m thankful that this scholarship is going to help relieve that,” Horner said. “My fiancé is a nurse, and he’s trying his best to help support me, so this will relieve some of the stress that’s on both of us.”
Patrick Farry, a WVSOM Class of 2026 student from St. Albans, W.Va., noted that as a nontraditional student, the scholarship will allow him to focus more on his education and family and less on the debt that comes with attending medical school.
“As someone who left a career in law enforcement to come to medical school, not having a steady income makes things difficult. Any money to help fund my education is welcomed. I have a wife and four daughters at home, so this takes some of the pressure off. It will give me a chance to learn to become a good doctor instead of figuring out how to pay for things,” Farry said.
Other recipients for this academic year were Class of 2024 students Abundance Hunt (of Ronceverte, W.Va.) and Tanner Moore (of Sissonville, W.Va.); Class of 2025 students Abigail Effingham (of Kenova, W.Va.) and Maria Mace (of Morgantown, W.Va.); Class of 2026 student Margaret Giggey (of Saint Leonard, Md.); and Class of 2027 students Evan Ballard (of Foster, W.Va.), Allison Harman (of Lahmansville, W.Va.), Farah Kandil (of Ashburn, W.Va.) and Amber Meadows (of Ghent, W.Va.).
James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., WVSOM’s president, said during the luncheon that the Encova scholarships represent the largest corporate endowment provided through the school’s WVSOM Foundation.
“This is an investment that will keep on giving,” Nemitz said. “Encova is doing good things, and that includes recognizing that they want to pay it forward, that they want to take the dollars they generate and help medical students in their future careers. We’re thankful for the endowment, which will continue to grow and enable us to offer scholarships to future students.”
Since the 2017-18 academic year, $431,000 has been awarded to 63 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 $1,031,000 to 84 students.
— WVSOM is a national leader in educating osteopathic physicians for primary care medicine in rural areas. Visit WVSOM online at www.wvsom.edu.