Medical Student’s Scholarship Enables Her to Focus on Academics, Not Finances

Throughout the past three years, Lillian Meierhoff ’23 pursued an interest in family medicine, but realized that while she is still passionate about primary care, she is leaning toward internal medicine. 

“I like the mix of clinic and hospital medicine that internal medicine lends itself to while wanting a career that allows me to work with and for a wide variety of people every day,” Meierhoff said. “I enjoy solving complex problems and to work in an environment that challenges me intellectually.” 

Originally from Lindstrom, Minnesota, Meierhoff was drawn to the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus for a couple of reasons. 

“The community and family-feel of our class has been so wonderful – especially during the challenges of medical school and COVID-19. I love knowing that I can reach out to any of my classmates for help, advice or just an ear to rant to when needed,” Meierhoff said.

In addition, she reminisces about how her Duluth days involved friends and driving along the North Shore. 

“My favorite memories usually involve packing a car full of friends and driving up the shore for an adventure. I also look fondly on my memories of late night studying with classmates in the library. But, my favorite memory from medical school? When we all had passed our first medical school final and celebrated together. I love how supportive my classmates were with each other,” she said.

Long before she started to apply for medical school, Meierhoff worked in different jobs starting when she was 15 years old. One job in particular helped her eventually succeed as a medical school student. 

“I was a medical scribe. It was exhausting and difficult but I did not realize until medical school how helpful it would be to have note-writing skills. I also picked up so much from the doctors I worked with, and it’s the best way to see doctor-patient care firsthand,” Meierhoff said. 

Although she continued to work through college, she was given a reprieve from work when she entered medical school. “It was the first time that I did not hold a job. It’s been a blessing to have both the academic and financial support of our teachers at the Medical School,” she said.

In order to hopefully relieve the stress of financial worry, Meierhoff had applied for the James Boulger, PhD, Endowed Scholarship and was honored when she received the notification that she had earned the award. 

“This scholarship has allowed me to focus on becoming a compassionate doctor without stressing about money,” Meierhoff said. “I am so grateful and it means so much to me that Dr. Boulger gives to our medical school in many ways. Everyone who has come to the U of M Medical School, Duluth Campus knows and loves Dr. Boulger!” 

The James Boulger, PhD, Endowed Scholarship

The James Boulger, PhD, Endowed Scholarship was established in 2010 by alumni, faculty, staff and community leaders to honor him. As a charter faculty member and respected mentor who knew and encouraged each and every student, the scholarship was, and is, a way to thank an incredible mentor. 

According to one Duluth campus award recipient, “Receiving this scholarship meant not only financial stability, but more importantly a deeper connection to the mission of the Medical School. It is a strong motivator to continue on the pursuit of becoming a practicing physician and making sure that the investments that have been made see a return.” 

At the same time, an additional scholarship recipient commented, “Receiving this scholarship is an honor. It is a symbol of all the hard work and dedication I have committed to becoming a physician and encouragement to continue moving forward.” 

The funding provides one or more scholarships annually to new students at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Preference is given to those who begin their medical education in Duluth and the renewal of past recipients. In the past decade since its inception, 96 scholarships have been awarded to 53 students, culminating a total of $254,000 in financial support.

If you are interested in supporting this scholarship fund, please contact Elizabeth Simonson, Director of Development at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus.

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