By Wendy Sarubbi | February 10, 2014 4:32 pm

Three UCF College of Medicine students have received $3,000 scholarships from the UCF Student Government Association for their achievements in the classroom and their contributions to the community.

The awards went to first-year student Sami Saikaly, second-year student Kyle Burton and third-year student Teresa Martin-Carreras Duenas.

Saikaly serves as president of the class of 2017, which is the medical school’s largest ever, with 120 students. “A main focus of this scholarship is working with the community,” he said. “That’s what I love to do and have been doing as class president, so I figured I would go for this scholarship.” Saikaly’s service work includes raising money for the American Heart association, and volunteering at the Nemours Children’s Hospital.

Burton is a bit of an outdoorsman who combines that passion with medicine as president of the Wilderness Medical Society. The group participates in adventure races like MedWar, which challenges students to deal with simulated medical emergencies during an outdoor excursion.  “I believe that winning this scholarship reflects more on the quality of UCF College of Medicine and the opportunities they have for students,” he said. “It has allowed me to do many great things and having two more years left in this program, I hope to do many more.”

Third-year student Teresa Martin-Carreras Duenas is no stranger to adventure, as well. She is the director of service for the student humanitarian service group, MedPACt and recently. Teresa recently traveled to the Dominican Republic with the group, providing primary care to impoverished areas.  She was featured in a PBS documentary about the trip, where she joined fellow medical and nursing students and faculty in caring for hundreds of patients in remove villages.  “Earning the  SGA scholarship is an incredible honor for me. All of my classmates are incredibly talented, and I am certain the choice was not a simple one to make.” she said.

Each student’s $3,000 award will be applied to their tuition for the next academic year. In its letter to winners, the SGA said it is “delighted to offer support in partnership with the College of Medicine providing you a high-quality education by allowing you to participate in service learning communities that enhance your leadership qualities.”

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