Aoa Medical Student Essay Contest

National and chapter news

Helen H. Glaser Student Essay Awards

Begun in 1982, this award is annually awarded in early May. All medical students enrolled in schools with active AΩA chapters are encouraged to apply. The purpose of this award is to encourage medical students to sit down and write well-crafted creative narratives or scholarly essays relevant to medicine.


  • First prize: $2,000
  • Second prize: $800
  • Third prize: $550
  • Honorable mention: $250

Winning essays will be published in future issues of The Pharos


  • First prize (tie): "Medicalization of the Sexually Peculiar: Lili Elbe, The Danish Girl and the History of Transgender Medicine in the 20th Century" by Brit Trogen, class of 2018 at the New York University School of Medicine
  • First prize (tie): "Color Blindness an Its Illuminations" by Rebecca Shulman, class of 2018 at Lewis Katz School of Medicine of Temple University School of Medicine
  • Third prize: "A Phantom Disease" by Rachel Stern, class of 2018 at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
  • 2016

  • First prize: "The 20th General Hospital: A Case Study in the Reach of Formalized Medicine During the Second World War" by Christopher Magoon, class of 2018 at the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Second prize: "History of Present Illness (HPI)" by Liat Bird, class of 2016 at Boston University School of Medicine
  • Third prize: "The Slavery Hypertension Hypothesis: A Seriously Flawed Explanation for the High Prevalence of Hypertension in African Americans" by James Comotto, class of 2018 at the University of Maryland
  • 2015

  • First prize: "Shakespeare’s Macbeth: an Insight into Politics, Religion, and the King’s Touch in Reformation England" by Fleta Bray, class of 2016 at the University of Miami
  • Second prize: "Art in a Time of Chronic Illness: the Effects of Systemic Sclerosis as Seen through the Works of Paul Klee" by Grace Prince, class of 2015 at the University of Virginia
  • Third prize:"In an Instant" by Maya Armstrong, class of 2018 at Ohio State University
  • Honorable mention:"From Medical Student to Midwife: The Day I Delivered My Daughter On Our Bedroom Floor" by Kevin Lowder, class of 2016 at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine
  • Honorable mention:"Breaking the Oath: Why Physicians Torture" by Taylor Brooks, class of 2018 at the University of Cincinnati
  • 2014

    • First prize: "In the Hollow of Her World: Healing and the Defiance of Illness in Christina’s World" by Amy Huang, class of 2017 at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine
    • Second prize: "The Lullaby" by Steven Krager, class of 2014 at the Creighton University School of Medicine
    • Third prize: "23andWe: How Can Doctors Decode Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing?" by Melissa Pritchard, class of 2017 at the Boston University School of Medicine
    • Honorable mention: "The Six-Million Dollar Physician: A History of Robotics Making Surgeons Better, Stronger, Faster" by Marc Polacco, class of 2014 at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine


    • First prize: “Dennett’s Echo” by Catherine Spaulding, class of 2014 at Georgetown University School of Medicine
    • Second prize: “Words Beyond Death: Literary Form and Its Intentions in Paul Zweig’s Last Works” by Christopher Salib, class of 2016 at Meharry Medical College
    • Third prize, tie: “‘Vital Amines,’ Purple Smoke: A Select History of Vitamins and Minerals” by Stanley Gutionov, class of 2015 at Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine
    • Third prize, tie: “Yes, I Can” Learning to Cope with Death” by YunZu Wang, class of 2013 at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
    • Honorable mention:“Food Fight” by Matthew Molloy, class of 2014 at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    • Honorable mention: “Healing, Harming, and Hippocrates: Physician-Assisted Suicide in Roman Medicine” by Felipe Fernandez del Castillo, University of Massachusetts Medical School
    • Honorable mention: "Wet Dust" by Peter Daniel, class of 2014 at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University



    • First prize: "'My life, my soul, my body I owe to you and God': Harvey Cushing and the Patient-Physician Relationship as Seen through Written Correspondence" by Courtney Pendleton, class of 2012 at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    • Second prize: "The AMA and Health Care Reform" by Allison Hinko, class of 2011 at the University of Toledo College of Medicine
    • Third prize: "'You're Sick, We're Quick': Retail Clinics and Their Implications for the Future of the American Health Care System" by Adam Mikolajczk, class of 2011 at the University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences, The Pritzker School of Medicine
    • Honorable mention: "All About the Benjamins, Baby: The Impact of EMR on Billing, Coding, and Physician Reimbursement" by Charles Rutter, class of 2011 at the University of Maryland School of Medicine
    • Honorable mention: "Ulcers in Papua New Guinea: A Contemplation on Fairness" by Heather Relyea Ashley, class of 2011 at the University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine
    • Honorable mention: "Carlos Finlay, Walter Reed, and the Politics of Imperialism in Early Tropical Medicine" by Daniel Liebowitz, class of 2014 at the University of Vermont College of Medicine
    • Honorable mention: "MD/MPH 'Dualies': The Case for Integrating Public Health and Medical Education and the Innovative Competition to Align Existing Schools to Meet this Objective" by Jonathan Ryan Barry, class of 2013 at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine


    • First prize: "Attuning to Equilibrium: Physician as Artist, Artist as Physician" by Eliza Miller, class of 2012 at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
    • Second prize: "The Monsters of Medicine: Political Violence and the Physician" by Amanda Redig, class of 2010 at Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine
    • Third prize: "A Modern Epidemic in a Historic City: Tackling Diabetes in Old Delhi" by Syed Mahmood, class of 2010 at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
    • Honorable mention: "That Which We Carry with Us" by Ibiayi Dagogo-Jack, class of 2011 at the University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences Pritzker School of Medicine
    • Honorable mention: "Going First" by Susie Morris, class of 2010 at Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine
    • Honorable mention: "Stroke in Black and White" by Srijita Mukherjee, class of 2011 at the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Medicine

    Updated on November 20, 2017.

    Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship

    Dr. Amy Lee(R), AΩA Councilor at the Beta Massachusetts Chapter at Tufts University School of Medicine,
    standing with 2017 Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship Award recipient, Diana Bartenstein(R), who is holding her first check.

    Past Recipients & Research Abstracts:

    2018 Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship

    Download the announcement and checklist

    To foster the development of the next generation of medical researchers.

    The Opportunity
    Financial support for research to be conducted either during a continual period of a minimum of 8 to 10 weeks; 30 hours or more per week, or an average of 4 hours per week for 12 months over a period of 1 to 2 years, for clinical investigation, basic laboratory research, epidemiology, social science/health services research, leadership, or professionalism. Funds from the fellowship are expected to be the major source of support for the student. Only one candidate from each school may be nominated. A student may only receive one fellowship during medical school. This fellowship program honors Carolyn L. Kuckein, long-time administrator of AΩA and an honorary member of the society, who died in 2004.

    The Award
    $5,000, one-half paid on announcement of the award, and one-half on receipt and approval by AΩA of a final research report.
    In addition, up to $1,000 can be reimbursed for travel to present Fellowship research results at a national meeting within one year of distribution of the final award check. Reimbursement forms must be submitted within 60 days after travel is incurred.

    First-, second-, and third-year medical students from schools with active AΩA chapters, or associations, are eligible. MD/PhD holders are not eligible for this fellowship, but are encouraged to apply for the Post Graduate Award.

    Application Deadlines:
    Proposals first must be submitted to the student’s Chapter Councilor for review and consideration. Each Chapter Councilor may set his/her deadline for submission. The final application must be received by the AΩA National Office no later than January 31, 2018.

    Proposal to Councilors
    Councilors and their selection committees will select one proposal for submission to the National Office. The proposal must include:

    1. The completed checklist (download the checklist). Checklist may be more than one page.
    2. A summary (of four or fewer pages) of the research project written by the applicant, single-spaced, in 12-point type with 1- inch margins, as follows: title, hypothesis, rationale, background information, methods and sample size, plan for data analysis, potential significance, role of the student in preparation and execution of the project, an estimate of the number of weeks that the student will devote to the project, and an acronym definition list.
    3. The project bibliography.
    4. If required for the project, proof of IRB or IACUC approval or submission for approval.
    5. The student’s CV (no more than 3-4 pages).
    6. A letter of support from the faculty mentor/research supervisor indicating his or her commitment of time and interest to the project and student.
    7. The faculty mentor/research supervisor’s biographical sketch (3-4 pages – see NIH format for an example). Do not send the mentor's complete CV.
    8. All members listed in the application packet who are AΩA members, must have active status.

    Application to the National Office
    Applications must be sent to the AΩA National Office by e-mail as PDF(s), and must include, in addition to the items included in the submission to the Councilor:

    1. A letter of endorsement from the AΩA Councilor.
    2. A Dean’s endorsement that should comments on the student’s achievements and potential, and the suitability of the faculty mentor/research supervisor.
    3. Applications should be e-mailed to Jean Holzwart at
    4. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

    The Review Process
    A committee will evaluate each proposal, and may ask for additional information.

    Date of Award Announcement
    Winning awards will be announced April 16, 2018.

    Other Important Information

    1. Approval of clinical or animal projects by the local medical center IRB or IACUC must be received before accepted applications can be funded.
    2. No later than June 30, 2019, all students must submit a detailed final research report (minimum of four pages) to the AΩA National Office. The report must include the title, original hypothesis and a description of the methods, discussions, results, and conclusions. In addition, each student must also submit a separate abstract of fewer than 300 words that may be published on the AΩA website. Completion of the project is not required.
    3. Any publication of the AΩA-supported research project must contain the following acknowledgment: Supported in part by an Alpha Omega Alpha Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship.
    4. Alpha Omega Alpha is committed to upholding a high standard of professionalism, compassion and humanism in medicine. Patients should be treated with dignity and their privacy respected. We will not accept submissions to any of our programs that conflict with these values, or contain bigotry, or highly politicized content.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I find out who my school's AΩA Councilor is?
    Go to Chapters or Associations

    What is the deadline for submitting my application to my school's AΩA Councilor?
    Contact the Councilor to find out.

    How many fellowships are awarded each year?
    AΩA allocates funds for about 50 awards each year.

    Are there restrictions how the award money should be used?
    No. How the money is used is entirely at the recipient's discretion.

    Is a student restricted to doing the research project in the summer months?
    No. It is up to the student and the school's scheduling. Originally this was intended as a summer program, a student may do the project at whatever time convenient. In many cases, it is part of an on-going project. However the student is required to complete the project and submit a final report to the national office by June 30 of the following year.

    Does the student applying for the research fellowship have to complete the research at the same institution?
    No. The research can be completed at any institution as long as the student has a specific mentor there who is willing to support him/her.

    If a school has two outstanding candidates, can the councilor submit both?
    No. Only one candidate from each school may be nominated.

    If a student has completed his/her third year, but plans to take a year off to do research. Is the student eligible for an award?
    Yes, if the student does not anticipate graduating in the same year that the fellowship is awarded and is enrolled at the medical school.

    Can a student accept additional funding from another organization on the same project?
    Yes, as long as AΩA funds are the major source of support of the student.

    More Information
    Contact Jean Holzwart at

    Updated on February 26, 2018.

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