SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Attending medical school can be a tremendous financial burden with tuition in the tens of thousands of dollars. But thanks to a purpose-driven program, some medical students are getting their education cost-free.
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine features a program called Abigail Geisinger Scholars. It covers the cost of tuition in exchange for an obligation from recipients to work at Geisinger after finishing their residency. As Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains, a Williamsport native is among them whose service to society, in part, helped earn him free tuition.
“When you’re contracting the fingers, if you stop one, it pivots around the hinge and the other fingers continue to contract,” explained Tyler Bogaczyk.
What he demonstrated may look like a toy but it was actually a prosthetic apparatus which he helped design. It takes the place of a hand or arm for someone needing an upper limb assisted device.
“Imagination, especially with new technology like 3D printing and A.I., is kind of the sky’s the limit for it,” said Mr. Bogaczyk. So is the number of people who can be helped by it.
“We wanted to come up with a community service project that could give back to people in Philadelphia using 3D printing and medicine,” said Mr. Bogaczyk.
While previously attending Drexel University, this current medical student at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine launched a chapter of a non-profit called E-NABLE which builds 3D hands and prosthetics for students in need. Among the students he helped is a 4th grader with a right-hand birth defect. The 11-year-old boy received a free prosthetic device to hold his violin bow and play in his school concert.
“We actually took a template from online and adapted it to fit his violin bow,” Mr. Bogaczyk said.
“Well, it’s inspiring,” said Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine President/Dean Steven Scheinman, MD.
It’s that kind of service combined with brilliance which earned Mr. Bogaczyk the designation Abigail Geisinger Scholar and about a quarter-million dollars in free medical school tuition.
“Students like Tyler who come here with a background in having solved problems then applying that in an educational model where we encourage creativity I think will just allow them to blossom,” Dr. Scheinman said.
In return for free tuition, Mr. Bogaczyk will practice medicine in the Geisinger system once he finishes his residency.
“Not having this med school debt is a huge step towards me being able to do the things that I want to do later in life,” he said.
This is the second year for Abigail Geisinger Scholars which awards ten medical students free tuition each year. You can contact Mr. Bogaczyk to learn more about 3D printing or if you know someone in need of one of the devices by e-mailing him at Tbogaczyk@som.geisinger.edu.