CMS Education Foundation 2017-2018 scholarship recipients

by Michael J. Campo, PhD, support staff, Colorado Medical Society Education Foundation

Congratulations to first-year students from the University of Colorado School of Medicine – Christine Krentz, Brandi Krieg, Reilly Quist, Hayley Specht and Emily Wolverton – who were each awarded scholarships from the Colorado Medical Society Education Foundation (CMS EF). First-year students from Rocky Vista University – Leah Levulis and Pariss D’Spain – were also awarded a scholarship from CMS EF; each received $3,500.

CMS EF, a 501(c)(3) private foundation, has a mission to render financial support to select first-year medical students at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Rocky Vista University. Student scholarships are based on criteria such as the student’s financial status, academic achievement and desire to practice in rural or underserved areas upon graduation. Beyond scholarships, CMS EF supports education programs such as the Colorado State Science and Engineering Fair and the Education Program at the CMS annual meeting.

As CMS EF Board Chair Jack Berry, MD, stated “The CMS EF Board is thankful for the generous financial contribution and support from CMS members and others who make our education scholarships possible.”

The 2017-2018 scholarship recipients are as follows.

Pariss D’Spain

Pariss is a first-year medical student at Rocky Vista University, class of 2022. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. Pariss loves the “small town” lifestyle and enjoys outdoor activities such as mountain biking and backpacking with friends and family. While completing her undergraduate degree, Pariss worked in three different research labs and was awarded the NIH MARC-U*STAR award. Throughout the summers of 2013 and 2014, she worked in an Alzheimer’s Disease research lab at Harvard Medical School studying amyloid-beta plaque formation within the Alzheimer’s diseased brain at Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to her passion for scientific research, Pariss has cared for underserved communities while working as an ophthalmic technician and more recently as an EMT for a community mental health practice that serves five counties of rural southwest Colorado. With her work experience and dedication to small-community care, Pariss aspires to provide health care for underserved and rural communities as a future osteopathic physician.

Christine Krentz

Christine spent the early years of her life living in rural upstate New York before her family moved to Routt County, Colo., in 2005. Christine received her Associate of Science from Colorado Mountain College along with her high school diploma in 2014. Christine then attended the University of Denver from 2014 to 2017 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a bachelor’s in Chemistry. While at DU, Christine did research in atmospheric chemistry with the Huffman Lab Group. She was a resident assistant for two years, worked ski patrol at Granby Ranch, and founded an EMS club on DU’s campus. Christine now works as a full time EMT at Stadium Medical. In her free time, Christine is an avid outdoorswoman who loves to ski, backpack and rock climb. On rainier days you’ll find her reading, painting or baking to satisfy her sweet tooth. It has been her dream since seventh grade to not only become a doctor but to specifically attend CUSOM. Her future goals involve working as a rural physician in Colorado.

Brandi Krieg

When she was a kid, Brandi was determined to become strong enough to lift her saddle onto the back of her horse Jack, who stood all of 14 hands tall. She struggled with hurling 40-pound bales of hay onto the back of the trailer. There was no nonsense her father could rattle off that would discourage her from turning a bottle-fed calf into a house pet. Later on, the stubborn-farm-kid training paid off and she went from breaking a six-minute mile running to securing a Division I scholarship. Halfway through college she decided that she wanted to be a doctor, though not certain what kind until she explored several other health care opportunities in her education and career. Throughout all of her life, she has dared to chase greatness, failing over and over until she succeeded. Great doctors are molded from those who will chase the challenge in front of them believing there is everything to gain from even the smallest opportunities. That is the type of doctor she intends to become.

Leah Levulis

Leah was born and raised in Colorado and has had a strong support system comprising her mother, boyfriend and three brothers. Her hobbies include mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking and camping. She has always had a passion for helping others, science and the human body. However, Leah’s desire to work in the medical field became evident after countless visits to the doctor with family members with serious medical conditions: She adamantly decided at age 6 that she would become a doctor so her brother would never get sick again. This passion for science and medicine fueled her throughout her undergraduate and graduate education, and for the past seven years she has worked and volunteered with individuals with developmental disabilities as a patient advocate. She has also volunteered at Open Bible Medical Clinic, a free medical clinic that provides services to the underserved in my community. These experiences formed her desire to work with underserved populations in medicine and, specifically, as a primary care physician in underserved rural areas of Colorado. She believes that everyone should have access to quality primary care and she hopes her future career will help alleviate shortages. She feels blessed and excited to attend a Colorado medical school whose mission is aligned with her career aspirations.

Reilly Quist

Reilly grew up in a family of 10 in Delta, Colo. She attended the University of Colorado Denver and graduated in May with a degree in biology. Reilly was the captain of the CU Denver club basketball team, of which she had been a member since her freshman year. She also spent three years working in a pediatric nutrition lab at the CU School of Medicine researching the link between obesity in mothers and their children. While not attending school, Reilly volunteered at Roundup River Ranch as a camp counselor and a program leader for horseback riding, boating and the ropes course. After graduation, she spent the summer at Roundup serving on their summer staff as a cabin leader. She is attending CU School of Medicine to become a primary care physician in the small town in which she grew up.

Hayley Specht

Hayley is excited to join the CUSOM class of 2022. She knew CU was the school for her based on its dedication to rural and underserved populations in Colorado. She was born in Lamar, Colo., a town of 7,500 people, and graduated from a class of 26 in Wiley, Colo. Growing up in a rural, medically underserved county in southeast Colorado, she has a thorough understanding of the struggles of rural residents to obtain and maintain relationships with medical and mental health care providers. In an effort to help create long-term medical and mental health services and relationships to rural Colorado residents, she pursued and obtained a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in professional counseling, with additional completion of medical school prerequisites. She will apply the skills and knowledge she has learned and will learn at CUSOM in professional counseling to provide well-rounded, holistic, and long-term health care and doctor-patient relationships to rural Coloradans.

Emily Wolverton

Emily was born and raised in rural Colorado. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Denver along with minors in leadership studies, chemistry and business administration. Her hobbies include skiing, hiking, road biking and playing volleyball. Before entering medical school, Emily participated in a health-focused Spanish immersion program in Guatemala. She studied the Spanish language and Latin American culture for five months to improve her language and cultural competencies in preparation for a career serving Spanish-speaking populations. In this gap year, she also worked as a varsity volleyball coach and substitute teacher. These experiences deepened her passion for education. Through community-health initiatives, Emily plans to continue teaching throughout her career in medicine. Emily is interested in pursuing a career in rural medicine and plans to return to the Rocky Mountains after completing her medical education and training.


Categories: Communications, Colorado Medicine