777 East Park Drive
PO Box 8820
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8820
Fax (717) 558-7818
Contact: Kerry Royer, (717) 558-7847
June 28, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Local Medical Student Receives Foundation Scholarship
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Kent D. Upham, of Le Raysville, Pa., in Bradford County, is the recipient of the
Scott A. Gunder, MD, Dauphin County Medical Society Presidential Scholarship offered through The Foundation of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. Upham, a medical student at
Penn State College of Medicine, will receive $1,500 towards his tuition. He is the son of Rick and Lisa Upham, of Le Raysville.
Upham, who plans to specialize in pediatrics or pediatric sports medicine, says he grew up in a very small, rural town as a sixth-generation dairy farmer. Hard work came as second nature to him; the idea of becoming a physician, on the other hand, was not something he had ever even considered. That is, until a new neighbor, who was a pediatrician, moved into a house three miles down the road, which was a "close" neighbor in his neck of the woods. This was the first doctor that Upham ever interacted with outside of an office visit.
“He was a wacky and friendly guy with a huge movie collection. That movie collection was a treasure trove for a ten-year-old, but borrowing one came at a cost. I was given a list of vocabulary words ranging from ‘pecuniary’ to ‘sesquipedalian’ that I had to master in exchange for a movie,” Upham says. “We developed a friendship and talked on a weekly basis often of his days as a pediatrician, which intrigued and excited me. One day he offhandedly mentioned that I could be a good doctor if I wanted to be. I was shocked--the idea had never occurred to me. None of my extended family members or classmates were doctors or aspired to be doctors. Until that moment, I had assumed I didn't have what it took; in hindsight it seems like that's what we all thought. No one in the graduating classes two years above nor below me went on to medical school.”
Upham said that he always knew he wanted to spend his life working to serve the needs of others, and with the years of friendship and mentoring, he knew he could accomplish this life goal through being a physician.
“I have been and plan to continue leading others into medicine the same way that I was led into medicine - mentorship. I've been involved in mentoring programs at both my undergraduate institution and here at Penn State; I have helped several students traverse the labyrinth of medical school admission. In my future efforts to lead others into medicine, I plan on reaching out to students in my local rural area by being heavily involved in the community at large,” he says.
Rural community kids need to hear that they have what it takes from someone that knows what it takes. One way Upham plans on making himself available is through career days.
“When I was in school our career day did not include a doctor,” he says.
He also plans to hold community parties at the family pond, volunteering his medical services at local sporting events, enlisting youth in medical mission trips, and starting and advising a high school medical interest group where students can interact with health care professionals.
“My heritage is rich in community investment, and I plan on continuing that pattern by being a vibrant presence. I believe that these efforts will lead others into medicine and show them that even small-town, rural folk can make a big-town difference,” he says.
Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded the Scott A. Gunder, MD, Dauphin County Medical Society Presidential Scholarship to a second-year medical student attending Penn State College of Medicine. Through this scholarship, the memory of Gunder, a 39-year-old Harrisburg gastroenterologist will continue.
The Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, has been helping to finance medical education for nearly 60 years. The Foundation of the Pennsylvania Medical Society provides programs and services for individual physicians and others that improve the well-being of Pennsylvanians and sustain the future of medicine.
Click here to download a version of the full press release…
For information about this scholarship, call the Foundation’s Student Financial Services office at (717) 558-7854, or visit