For DonorsFor Applicants

Noah Jon Markstrom Foundation Scholarship

1st winner$4,000
2nd winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Oct 30, 2023
Winners Announced
Nov 30, 2023
Education Level
Undergraduate, Graduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Undergraduate and graduate
Pediatric medicine

Noah battled brain cancer for 2 years and passed away in 2019. Throughout Noah's battle, he was cared for by many special medical professionals, who chose to dedicate their lives to caring for sick children like Noah. 

The same people who cared for and created such a strong bond with Noah also cared for his family. They helped make it possible for Noah to go on many adventures and have an amazing quality of life, despite his treatments and limitations. Noah’s love for those who cared for him, inspired the creation of the Noah Jon Markstrom Foundation Scholarship. 

Undergraduate and graduate students earning their degree to work in pediatric medicine are applicable for this scholarship. Preference will be given to students specializing in oncology or cancer research in the Pacific NW. To apply, write about what inspired you to pursue a career in pediatric medicine.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published July 31, 2023
Essay Topic

What inspired you to want to pursue a career in pediatric medicine?

400–600 words

Winners and Finalists

November 2023

Phoebe Mixon
Sharon Pratt
Ashley Cowan
Caitlin Shellhamer
Tori Mullens
Antony Alvarado
Medeeha Khan
Oscar Contreras-Islas
Ashley McGregor
Raquel Tolin
Dasia Smith
Suhaimia Suleman
Madonna Riyad
Grace-Anne Armand
Stephanie Bloye
Devin Devasia
Hannah Stoneburner
Haylee Scott
Riley Bell
Yawa Attitso
Theresa Guadarrama
dora weihe
Aryanna Dickerson
Samantha Marksberry
Richa Patel
Harin Yoon
Alexis Lockwood
Kayla Fraser
Nanea Karnuth
Erika Nnodi
Miranda Jackson
david mikhail

Winning Applications

Alannah Hill
Thomas Jefferson UniversityPhiladelphia, PA
I was inspired to pursue a career in pediatric medicine by a profound and personal journey that began with a single word: empathy. This word became the guiding force behind my aspirations, steering me towards a path of healing and compassion for the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society. My journey into the world of pediatric medicine was not one that I had envisioned from an early age, but one that emerged from a series of experiences that gradually shaped my perspective on healthcare and ignited a deep passion for pediatric care. The pivotal moment in my journey occurred while I was in undergradate, when I volunteered in the pediatric ward of my local hospital. My initial experience was simultaneously heartwarming and heart-wrenching, witnessing the resilience of children facing debilitating illnesses, their unwavering spirit shining through despite their fragile bodies. It was during my time volunteering in this environment that I first encountered Sarah, a spirited 7-year-old girl with a radiant smile that seemed to defy her diagnosis of leukemia. I had the privilege of spending time with her, reading stories, playing games, and simply offering a comforting presence during her chemotherapy sessions. Sarah's unwavering optimism and courage were nothing short of inspiring, and her ability to find joy in the midst of adversity left an indelible mark on my heart. Tragically, Sarah's battle with leukemia was ultimately lost, and I had the difficult task of witnessing the heartbreak that enveloped her family. It was during those tender moments, sitting with her parents as they grieved the loss of their beloved daughter, that I understood the profound role of a pediatrician. Beyond treating physical ailments, pediatricians serve as pillars of support for families, helping them navigate the emotional turbulence that often accompanies childhood illness. This experience with Sarah's family illuminated the true essence of pediatric medicine for me: it's not just about diagnosing and treating diseases, but also about providing holistic care that addresses the emotional, psychological, and social aspects of a child's well-being. Pediatricians have the unique privilege of forming deep, long-lasting relationships with their patients and their families, guiding them through the challenges of childhood and adolescence, and are charged with the responsibility of providing excellent care. In conclusion, my love for pediatric medicine has guided my path thus far, showing me the power and importance of empathetic, well-informed physicians, and I am committed to channeling that empathy into a career dedicated to the health, happiness, and resilience of the children I will have the privilege to serve. Pediatric medicine is not just a career choice; it's a calling, and I am eager to embark on this journey of healing, advocacy, and hope.
Kevin Zheng
Harvard CollegeCAMBRIDGE, MA
When Nick* initially came into our care, he’d already been seen by dozens of physicians, who across the board made a unifying diagnosis – Nick and his family suffered from hysteria, and his symptoms were nothing more than a manifestation of psychological illness. Given his history, the attending physician delegated the case to me, thinking it would be a quick visit suitable for a medical student. Yet as I pulled open his chart to look at his latest imaging report, my hands began to tremble. "This has to be a mistake", I thought to myself as the resident physician and I quickly pulled up the MRI. As the images came into view, our doubts subsided at once. Littered throughout Nick’s brain and spinal cord was our answer. At only 9 years of age, Nick had advanced metastatic brain cancer. As a medical student at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, I’ve had the privilege of caring for hundreds of patients. And each of those patients has taught me invaluable lessons, not only in scientific and medical knowledge but also in empathy and understanding. That’s why I was initially shocked when I opened Nick’s records and found previous notes repeatedly dismissing his symptoms and his parents’ concerns. Despite this, my residents gave me a simple yet sage piece of advice: give every patient the benefit of the doubt, because you never know the full story. I walked over to Nick’s hospital room, sat down with him and his family, and let them tell me their story: about how Nick had been vomiting for months and how physicians at five different hospitals had all been unable to help. I learned how Nick was a star player on his basketball team before he began experiencing these symptoms. I even learned about the confrontation between Nick’s mom and a doctor at the previous hospital, who banned her after she repeatedly questioned his diagnosis and began seeking second opinions. After nearly two hours, I collected my notes and let Nick and his family know that we would do everything we could to help him. In the end, it was only because I had obtained a complete history that a pattern began to emerge – Nick’s primary symptom was vomiting, but he also experienced an on-and-off headache that persisted for months. He also was weak – much weaker than expected. The team agreed something felt off and shortly after, we ordered Nick a head MRI, something no other hospital had previously done for Nick because “it wasn’t necessary”. In the end, it’s Nick who helped me, teaching me the ultimate lesson in medicine – humility. At institutions like Boston Children’s, billions are spent on acquiring state-of-the-art medical technologies and performing cutting-edge research. Yet, in patient care, no technology is a substitute for humility - keeping an open mind, empathizing with patients’ experiences, and learning their stories. As for me, I’ve decided to pursue a career in pediatric oncology and medical innovation to care for kids like Nick. Throughout my training, I’ve been blessed to receive world-class training in both medicine and scientific research. I hope to bridge these worlds, using my experiences in patient care to inspire my work in developing novel cancer therapeutics and to use my scientific background to provide for patients to the best of my abilities. As I pursue this career, I hope to bring with me the reminder that the most important job I can do as a future physician is to truly listen to my patients and understand their stories.
Evan Thomas
Washington State UniversitySpokane, WA
As a Pediatric ICU nurse in Washington state, I have the pleasure of meeting the world's strongest patients. Children with cancer are resilient and courageous but often they have to suffer horrible consequences from both their disease and their treatment regimens. Every week, I work with pediatric oncology patients that are put through experiences that I would not be able to handle with such grace. Many of these ICU patients are intubated, on CRRT dialysis, and receive boatloads of medications. Yet, they're still able to give you a thumbs up when asked. I've been fortunate to create strong bonds with several pediatric patients, and their families, through the years. Unfortunately, many of those patients passed away. Their optimism, strength, and determination are what inspire me to pursue further studies in pediatric medicine. I have now been accepted to several medical schools, including Washington State University (UW Medical School is pending). I want to study medicine to take my knowledge and potential to the next level so that I can make a greater impact. As a nurse, I'm able to positively affect people's lives but as a physician, I will be able to do the same and also make larger contributions to cancer research, practice implementation, and policy-making. This will not be an easy endeavor. I will lean on my experiences of having worked with pediatric oncology patients and those of my own family. Last year, my uncle was blind-sided with a cancer diagnosis of multiple myeloma. Now he is going through the turmoil of receiving chemotherapy and has a scheduled bone marrow transplant. Although cancer survival rates have increased over the years, cancer still severely decreases the quality of many patients' lives. For other patients, their cancer ends their life far too soon. I’m inspired to reduce the incidence and prevalence of childhood cancer. I’m also inspired by the possible outcomes: less suffering, less loss, and fewer financial burdens. Seattle is one of the world's top cancer treatment cities in the world. I want to leverage the resources and training opportunities that will be available in this area to maximize my development in pediatric medicine so that I can make as large of an impact as humanly possible for pediatric cancer patients and their families. Despite living in the Pacific Northwest, I’m tremendously inspired by the fact that discoveries and positive progress can be shared worldwide. Prior to working as a nurse, I was an EMT/Paramedic in Mexico. Mexico has wonderful oncology clinics and hospitals. However, they face unique challenges. I’m motivated and inspired to also improve pediatric oncology care in that part of the world as well. The bottom line is that I know that the medical community can continue to improve cancer care, discover more about cancer, and make a real impact in the lives of those currently battling cancer. I’ll never forget one of my favorite patients and his family. He was a recent college graduate who had just gotten an offer of employment at his dream engineering job with a top aerospace agency when his cancer relapsed. The patient and his family were wonderful and advocated for his well-being at all times. For weeks we spent time exchanging jokes and sharing food. Ultimately, he died and his dad cried intensely on my shoulder. It was an extremely emotional moment but one that has filled me with motivation to keep fighting for patients. I can contribute to pediatric medicine with this scholarship. Thank you.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Oct 30, 2023. Winners will be announced on Nov 30, 2023.

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