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Two encounters with medicine inspired Sophia Costan, MD Class of 2024, to become a doctor herself.

When she was 13, she was troubled by a barrage of mysterious symptoms — severe anxiety, weight loss, palpitations. A calm and reassuring family doctor solved the problem, discovering that Sophia has Grave’s disease. “She was so great,” Sophia said. “She took a scary situation and turned it into a learning opportunity.”

Sophia was eager to emulate her doctor’s knowledge and kindness, so she pursued dual degrees in cell & molecular biology and psychology at Chatham University in Pittsburgh. There, she also pursued another of her passions: serving the community. It was while volunteering as a front desk clerk at Catholic Charities Health Care Center that she found her next source of inspiration. “I loved working at the center and found that you can have a huge impact just by being kind,” she said. “However, I was lucky to have the chance to shadow a doctor at the center. He was retired and was working full time at the clinic for free. In his retirement, he could have been doing anything and he chose this. That really made an impression on me.”

As Sophia was researching medical schools, Geisinger’s focus on community captured her attention. “I was looking for schools with a community emphasis and was thrilled as I explored programs like the Fresh Food Farmacy. I had already applied to Geisinger Commonwealth when I learned about the scholars program and I was just floored. I want to focus on internal medicine, so it’s incredible that on Day 1 I will be immersed in primary care opportunities. I can also focus on what’s important to me — making medicine accessible to everyone. I am so excited. I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a teenager.”

Sophia Costan, MD Class of 2024
Sophia Costan, MD Class of 2024 and Abigail Geisinger Scholar

Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program

Geisinger wants its smart, hardworking medical students to be free to practice medicine the way every future doctor imagines it — through meaningful, long-term relationships with people who become more like family. And we all want our family members to stay healthy and strong so they can live their best lives, unburdened by disease. That’s why we created the Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program.

Here’s how it works:

  • Selected students graduate without tuition debt and receive a $2,000 per month stipend.
  • Upon completion of residency training, program participants become Geisinger-employed physicians. Specialties include family medicine, internal medicine, medicine-pediatrics and psychiatry.
  • 1 year of service equals 1 year of support, with a 2-year minimum.