Second year medical students at the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, Megan Sofka and Andrew Ortega, are the inaugural recipients of the Hunt Family Foundation Paso Del Norte Scholarship. The Hunt Family Foundation was established in 1987 by Woody L. Hunt and Gayle G. Hunt. Mr. Hunt said they made the matching grant gift for the scholarship to the Southwest Foundation for Osteopathic Education and Research (SWFOER) because “this specialized medical school can play a significant role in making the Borderplex region more competitive, as well as help build a better quality of life for residents in the Las Cruces/El Paso region.”
The Hunt Family Foundation predominantly supports charitable initiatives in the Paso Del Norte region. Applicants for the award must have graduated from a high school in Dona Ana County, El Paso County, or Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. They must also submit an essay explaining the healthcare issues specific to the region and how they intend to give back to the region upon graduation.
Megan Sofka is a native of Las Cruces. She became interested in osteopathic medicine after shadowing a DO pediatric emergency medicine physician. “There are few osteopathic physicians in New Mexico, but observing a different way to practice medicine was inspiring,” she said. She will be completing her third-year clinical rotations in Las Cruces and plans to practice medicine in the area after graduation and completion of her residency.
Andrew Ortega was born in El Paso, and has also lived in Ciudad Juarez. He said, “The health disparities between the two countries is appalling and, based on my experiences, I feel it is my personal responsibility to help in the best way I can.” Ortega will do his clinical rotations in El Paso and he plans to serve homeless and low-income families in the Southwest border region as a practicing physician.
The matching scholarship will be awarded each semester in the amount of $6,250. It is renewable for a maximum of 4 semesters, contingent upon maintaining eligibility requirements, for a total of $25,000. Expenses that may be covered include tuition, books, room and board, and other related educational expenses, as approved by the SWFOER. Both Sofka and Ortega expressed gratitude to the Hunt family for their generosity in helping to offset the costs of their education.
Read more about the Hunt Family Foundation “Paso Del Norte” Scholarship.