Los Altos High School graduate Jebgy Vargas was watching a soccer game with friends when he got the call that he was one of four students this year to receive a $25,000 scholarship from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
The scholarship, funded by foundation physicians and community donors, is awarded to a high school student bound for a four-year university with plans to become a doctor.
“Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s scholarship program makes a difference in a few ways,” said Rebecca Leon, M.D., scholarship committee chairwoman. “It’s helping the medical community to meet a critical need for physicians in the coming years while supporting gifted and dedicated students who might otherwise have difficulty meeting their academic goals.”
Vargas, who wants to become a pediatrician, is one of the targeted students. He said that without the scholarship, it would have been much harder for him to attend college. When he starts school at Santa Clara University in September, he’ll become the first member of his family to attend college.
“(My parents are) a little bit nervous, I suppose,” Vargas said. “I’ve always been very close to my family. Even though my university is only a couple minutes away, they don’t really know how to react.”
After Santa Clara, Vargas hopes to attend Stanford Medical School. He credits his own pediatrician and her compassion as one of the reasons he settled on a career as a doctor.
“I don’t want to just give shots to kids,” Vargas said about being the type of pediatrician who’s there for his patients.
But in the end, Vargas isn’t too concerned about his path to becoming that kind of doctor – even if it means going to medical school somewhere that isn’t Stanford University. For him, it’s less about the journey than the destination.
“My main goal is to become a pediatrician,” he said. “How I get there doesn’t matter. I’m going to work as hard as I can to make my dreams come true.”