'A Huge Surprise … And An Honor!'
Future physician says true value of chapter-specific scholarship transcends money,
makes a big difference in the lives of Phi Sig students
March 18, 2011
When Maura Bucciarelli was preparing to enter medical school and learned she'd won Xi's Chapter Educational Fund scholarship of $850, she was bowled over in more ways than one.
First, she knew many of her chapter sisters at Temple University in Philadelphia had also applied for the CEF, so competition was sure to be tough. “There are a lot of intelligent, very active women at Temple,” Maura explains with a laugh. “So in that way, it was a huge surprise, and I was very honored to win.”
Second, the news came at a time when she felt completely stressed out shortly after arriving at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in northwest Pennsylvania, where she knew no one and was required to launch immediately into the most rigorous academic program of her life. Learning she'd won Xi's CEF scholarship was an immediate “shot in the arm” for this future doctor's morale, so to speak – at a time when she really needed something to cheer about and to remind her the future was, indeed, looking bright.
“Learning about the money was great, sure,” Maura says, explaining that she’s putting herself through medical school – and even one textbook can cost hundreds of dollars. “But, even more than the money, it was the thought that counted – knowing that Phi Sig thought I was worth it…. For a moment, it brought me back to Temple, to all the things I missed since graduating, to the many sisters who helped get me here (to medical school by contributing to the CEF). That was most important to me.”
Ultimate goal: To give back, too...
Maura, who hopes to work with children someday, says she’s wanted to be a doctor ever since she can remember and now feels completely at home at med school. And she credits her Phi Sig leadership experiences – including serving as Xi’s vice archon – with helping her through the difficult first year of medical studies and training.
“I want my Xi sisters – and all Phi Sig sisters – to know how much I appreciate it,” she says of the scholarship. “I study 99% of the time, so I don’t have time to work. I’m borrowing money until my residency! There’s no question the CEF is fantastic – and I would love for any of my sisters to receive what I have.”
That’s why Maura sees a time in the future when, as a successful physician who has achieved her life’s dream, she’ll want to give back by donating to Foundation – specifically to Xi’s CEF.
“Before graduating, I knew I could never let go of Phi Sigma Sigma in my life,” she explains. “This experience has shown me why I’ll never have to – and why it’ll always be a part of me.”
Want to create a Chapter Educational Fund for your alma mater? Contact us.