Published November 9, 2015
The American Medical Association Foundation has selected fourth-year medical student Michele Smith for an award recognizing her academic excellence, community involvement and leadership.
The Medical Society of the State of New York/Dr. Duane and Joyce Cady Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship is providing Smith with $10,000 in tuition assistance.
As a first-year student, Smith was the fundraising chair for the society’s UB medical student chapter. She chaired the community service committee during her second year.
She also served as the state chair for community service for one year. In that role, Smith led MSSNY’s partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and planned local and statewide events that benefited pediatric oncology patients.
Additionally, she has devoted time to planning events for children with diabetes.
In 2015, Smith was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society, which recognizes students and physicians committed to providing excellent, compassionate medical care.
She is also a member of Alpha Omega Alpha. Election to the national honor medical society is a lifelong honor that signifies a commitment to scholarship, leadership and professionalism.
Smith was awarded the John J. and Janet H. Sung Scholarship in 2012. The award is for first-year UB medical students who demonstrate academic merit and soundness of character — including a caring attitude, generosity of spirit and leadership potential.
Smith first heard about the scholarship from Manyon after she met with her to discuss letters of recommendation for residency applications.
“After I left her office, Dr. Manyon emailed me personally and told me that she had read about the scholarship and thought I’d be a good fit for it,” explains Smith.
Manyon has been encouraging and supportive, says Smith. “She guided me through the entire application process, and she helped me prepare everything. I truly have her to thank for helping me win this award.”
In addition to receiving Manyon’s support, Smith — who is pursuing a career in pediatrics — has worked closely with faculty members in the Department of Pediatrics.
Mark D. Hicar MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics, has been especially supportive, she says. “He has been a phenomenal mentor when it comes to research, and he has also helped me through the residency application process.”
“I performed research with him on anti-HIV antibodies the summer after my first year, and I’ve stayed in contact with him through all four years of medical school,” says Smith.
She’s currently writing a paper with Hicar on antibodies that interfere with HIV treatment strategies.
Smith, who grew up in a rural area outside of Albany, plans to practice medicine in New York state. She is considering specializing in pediatric cardiology or pediatric critical care.
“New York has always been my home,” she says. “My family lives in Albany, so I would love to practice there.”
“I also love Buffalo,” emphasizes Smith. “I have thoroughly enjoyed living here, and I would love to give back to the area in some way.”
The Physicians of Tomorrow Awards were created in 2004 to assist students with medical school debt.
The AMA Foundation has made it a priority to help students handle the rising cost of medical education.
To date, the foundation has granted $1 million to exceptional medical students across the country.