Without the scholarships he received, Dr. Peter Movilla could not have attended, let alone graduated from Weill Cornell with an Ivy League medical education.
"I was really scared, thinking how in the world I was going to pay for this,” said Dr. Movilla, 26, the eldest of three children born to a teenage, single mom. “I couldn’t imagine my family contributing to my tuition bill, or even the possibility of having to work while I was studying to become a doctor."
Then Weill Cornell awarded him scholarships, funded by the medical college’s numerous donors, to help pay for his medical education. The financial aid package was the most generous given to him by any of the medical colleges at which he was accepted.
"It hands down helped influence me to come to the place I truly wanted to be," Dr. Movilla said.
With scholarships like these, Weill Cornell students graduate with a lower debt burden compared to students who attend peer institutions. Half of its medical students receive scholarships, which help defray the cost of their education and reduce their debt after graduation. The practice allows Weill Cornell to attract the best and most diverse students, medical college officials say, and provides graduates the opportunity to practice what and where they want.
"Medical school is hard enough as it is to then have to worry about living expenses in a very expensive city,” said Dr. Joseph Murray, associate dean of student affairs and equal opportunity programs at Weill Cornell. “Scholarships are so important to essentially free students’ minds so they can focus their energies on becoming good physicians, as opposed to stressing about loans and balancing the books each week."
In this video, Dr. Movilla, who this month started a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco, reflects on the generosity of Weill Cornell and its donors, and what their philanthropy has meant to him and his burgeoning career.
"Anyone who has worked with Peter is grateful that he came here,” Dr. Murray said. "We are fortunate to call him a Weill Cornell alumnus."