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Blackwell Scholarship Program

The Elizabeth Blackwell Scholarship Program provides an unprecedented opportunity for aspiring young physicians.  Accepted applicants who meet and maintain the standards of the program (which is funded and administered by Hobart and William Smith Colleges) are assured four, tuition-free years of college education at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, opportunities to work with physicians at Finger Lakes Health, a guaranteed seat in medical school at SUNY Upstate Medical University following graduation from Hobart and William Smith, and a waiver of the requirement to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

The program is named for Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman physician in North America. She received her medical degree from Geneva Medical College (now Hobart and William Smith Colleges) in 1849, graduating at the top of her class. She continued her studies in Paris and later opened her own practice in New York in 1851. A few years later, with her sister's help, she opened a clinic for poor women and children. In 1868 she founded the Women's Medical College of the New York Infirmary, one of the first medical schools for women.  The Geneva Medical College was moved to Syracuse and today is the SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine.

The Blackwell Scholarship program consists of three components.  The first component screens applicants.  They must meet one or more of the following criteria: 

  • Be from a rural background
  • Be from an underrepresented minority
  • Be the first generation to attend college.

In addition, the applicants must have a demonstrated a commitment to a career in medicine and have excellent academic credentials:

  • Combined SAT Scores of 1250 or higher (reading and math), or an ACT Composite of 28 or higher;
  • A high school grade point average (GPA) of 90 or higher (or 3.7 on a 4.0 scale.

Applicants will also be required to come to campus in late February for an evaluative interview.  The interview committee will then select the top candidates.

The second component involves regular meetings with the Health Professions Advisor and participation in the Educational Partnership Program with Finger Lakes Health.  Scholars will gain valuable experience working with physicians and numerous health professionals at the health system.  As part of the Educational Partnership, students complete a minimum of 60 hours of volunteer work and observation during the semester they participate.

Matriculation at SUNY Upstate Medical University is the third component for Blackwell Scholars.  All Scholars must throughout their college career:

  • Maintain a GPA of 3.5 or greater in science courses;
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher during any semester at Hobart and William Smith Colleges;
  •  Successfully complete the Educational Partnership Program at Finger Lakes Health; and
  • Participate in any enrichment activities required by SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine.

 As part of the Blackwell Scholar program, SUNY Upstate assures acceptance into the School of Medicine for those Blackwell Scholars that meet all the required components.

Students who meet the requirements are encouraged to fill out and submit the Blackwell Scholarship form.

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