MLS student wins Giving Hearts Day scholarship, more names to be drawn Feb. 15

Andrea Lerick, a junior from Savage, Minn., majoring in medical laboratory science within the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS), has been named winner of the Dr. Steffen Christensen Giving Hearts Scholarship for Giving Hearts Day 2019. The scholarship is worth $12,500.

“I wasn’t going to register [for the scholarship] until I got a reminder email from my department, and my professor Mary Coleman,” said Lerick, who hopes to put the scholarship toward her tuition and works as a laboratory assistant for Colin Combs at the SMHS. “So I figured it was worth a shot. I was coming out of organic chemistry lab when I got the call. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but this makes things easier for sure. I called my dad right away. He was excited for me.”

At least two more SMHS students will be drawn at random for Giving Hearts Day Scholarships on Friday, Feb. 15.

Giving Hearts Day is a 24-hour giving event for more than 450 charities across North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. Co-hosted by Dakota Medical Foundation (DMF), Impact Foundation, and Alex Stern Family Foundation, the event encourages the public to find a charity to love and to share that love with their community.

As of close of business on Thursday, Feb. 14, the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences raised over $12,500 on Giving Hearts Day 2019, which paired with the $25,000 donated to the School by DMF resulted in a total of at least $37,500 going directly to SMHS students this week.

This is the second year the UND SMHS has participated in Giving Hearts Day. Full-time SMHS students in any of the School’s eight degree-granting programs—doctor of medicine, medical laboratory science, sports medicine, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, master of public health, and graduate students in the departments of biomedical sciences and clinical and translational science—who registered for the opportunity are eligible to win. Donors who gave $1,000 or more to the SMHS through the DMF website were given the chance to win the right to name one of the scholarships.

Lowering all SMHS students’ debt has been a priority of School leaders in recent years. In a recent survey administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), graduating medical students cited their “ability to pay off debt” as one of their top concerns entering the medical profession. This concern affects students’ choice of specialization and practice location, which, in turn, has an effect on the physician workforce in North Dakota.