By Dr. Jim Dahle, WCI Founder

Today and tomorrow, we will be introducing you to the 2023 WCI Scholarship winners. Today's post will include the five winners in the Inspirational category. Tomorrow's post will include the five winners in the Financial category.

This is the ninth year for the WCI scholarship. The purpose of the scholarship is to give back to the community that has given us so much; to promote financial literacy among professional students; and, most importantly, to directly reduce the financial burden of a professional education and, thus, reduce indebtedness.

We had a record 990 applicants this year—736 in the Inspirational category and 254 in the Financial category. Thank you to all who applied even though only the top 1% will win anything. We also had 63 volunteer judges who ended up doing about 50% more work than they initially signed up for, so a special thanks to each of you. This year the scholarship will give out $59,450, or $5,945 to each of the winners. Over the last nine years, we have given away a total of $484,211 in cash, plus tens of thousands of dollars in prizes.

The funding for the scholarship comes mostly from WCI profits and the scholarship sponsors with occasional small contributions from regular white coat investors.


Scholarship Sponsors

This year's scholarship sponsors include:

Platinum Level Contributors ($8,000 or more)

The White Coat Investor, LLC
Larry Keller (Physician Financial Services) – Disability and Life Insurance
Michael Relvas (MR Insurance) – Disability and Life Insurance
SoFi – Student Loan Refinancing

Gold Level Contributors ($1,500 or more)

Jon Appino (Contract Diagnostics) – Contract Review/Negotiation
Chad Chubb (WealthKeel LLC) – Financial Advising
Johanna Turner (Fox and Company Wealth Management) – Financial Advising
Rick Warren (Insuring Income) – Disability and Life Insurance
Dennis Hursh (Physician Agreements Health Law) – Contract Review/Negotiation
DK Unger (DI4MDs) – Disability and Life Insurance

Silver Level Contributors 

Mike Caligiuri (Caligiuri Financial) – Financial Advising
Thomas Hackett (NW Legacy Law) – Estate Planning

Bronze Level Contributors

Tiffany Tu

Thank you for supporting those who support our mission.


2023 WCI Scholarship Winners – Inspirational Category

For each scholarship winner and in no particular order, we have included an excerpt from their essay and a link to the full post published elsewhere on the site. Here are the winners in the Inspirational category. Congratulations to each of you.


Amanda Watters 2023 WCI scholarship

Amanda Watters

Amanda Watters of Tulane University School of Medicine

Amanda wrote about a perfect tree in a perfect spot that, along with her house, was assaulted by Hurricane Katrina. She then uses the tree and its survival as an analogy for her being a sexual assault survivor and the impact that those two assaults have had on her as a clinician and a person.

“You. You are my hurricane. You came in, and you destroyed everything. You took my home, and you trashed it. You crashed into me like giant waves on bulwarks. You beat me down. You took my peace. You took my sense of safety. You poured salt into a wound. Your winds blew away my sense of self. And for the first time in my life, I sat down, and I couldn’t envision myself in a future—not a future I wanted to be a part of anyway. You came, and like a hurricane, you took your dear sweet time to make sure everything you touched was ruined.

And here I am in the aftermath—I’m picking up the pieces, I’m left fishing what I can find of myself from the canal a half-mile back. I’m left looking at the empty slab where my house used to be and wondering where to start. I’m standing here looking out at the bay and wondering how the storm can pass, and yet I can still feel like I’m in it. I’m stuck looking at my bay and trying to keep the anger, the hurt, the sadness, the confusion at bay.”

You can read the rest of the essay here.


2023 WCI scholarship taka nah jelah

Taka Nah Jelah

Taka Nah Jelah of Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University

Taka wrote an essay about the journey that resulted in her matriculating into medical school after witnessing the failures of the healthcare system in her native Cameroon.

“As I struggled to escape from that taxi, the memories of those heartbreaking moments surged through my mind. It was in that moment of desperation that I resolved to become a physician, driven by my lack of faith in the Cameroonian healthcare system and its insufficient specialized training. I took a bold leap and secured admission to pursue a premedical path in America, armed with the determination to make a difference.

My journey in the United States provided me with invaluable clinical exposure, shadowing esteemed physicians, and participating in health campaigns. I grew to appreciate the significance of comprehensive medical training, evidence-based research, and the transformative power of global healthcare collaborations. However, none of these revelations struck me as profoundly as my mother's battle with lung cancer . . . Who would have imagined that a functional healthcare system could make such a profound difference? I did. In the depths of my being, I harbored a suspicion that the terrifying leap I had taken, spanning thousands of miles across the Atlantic, would one day serve a greater purpose.”

You can read the rest of the essay here.


2023 WCI scholarship Aiden Kaspari

Aidan Kaspari

Aidan Kaspari of the Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Like many white coat investors, Aidan is a first-generation college grad. Unlike most white coat investors, his mother struggled with addiction and his father abandoned him.

“My mom falling victim to the opioid crisis of the early 2000s affected everything in my family’s lives. Ultimately, my mother was never able to recover from her drug and alcohol addictions. It not only impacted me but impacted my father so negatively that he became neglectful of my older sister and me. After my father remarried, it became clear that he wanted to forget the past and all that came with it—including my sister and me.

But my story has a happy ending. My extended family, aunts, uncles, and grandparents took in my sister and me and helped us pick up the pieces. They gave us a safe home for the first time in our lives. They were the ones who sent me to college when my father refused to financially support me anymore. They celebrated birthdays, holidays, and graduations. I may have lost two parents, but I gained an entire village. Because of my family, I continue to strive to surround myself in a supportive, healthy, and goal-oriented environment. I believe that fostering an environment like this is what makes being a good physician just as much a lifestyle as it is a profession.”

You can read the rest of the essay here.


2023 WCI scholarship Sara Yousef

Sara Yousef

Sara Yousef of SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Sara wrote about her journey as an asylum-seeker and her pathway to medicine.

“Of course, living in bliss never lasts very long.

It began with a visit from my father bringing my sister and me special Egyptian chocolates and abruptly ended with him holding a knife to my mother’s throat in front of us. He was more than angry; he was enraged at the thought of his own children at a Coptic Christian church. As a Muslim man, he could not fathom such a confession being uttered from my mother’s mouth. At that moment, we knew we had no option but to flee this predominantly Islamic nation where Coptic Christians are regularly persecuted.

Coming to America at the age of 7 was a dream, but our conditions were far from ideal. We slept on a couch in our grandparents' one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment for years. Once we had gained our asylum status through a painstakingly tedious process, our fight with my father was over. Then, began our fight for my sister’s life when I was 12. We tried to understand what the doctors were saying with what little English we had learned. Words thrown around like “hypoglycemic,” “ketoacidosis,” and “insulin” made as much sense to us as they would have for a toddler. The real challenge was not that we couldn’t comprehend the disease. It was that we simply couldn’t afford it.”

You can read the rest of the essay here.


2023 WCI scholarship Payge Barnard

Payge Barnard and her father

Payge Barnard of the University of Michigan Medical School

Payge told the story of her father dying and its impact on her specialty choice and her interactions with patients.

“It was a Thursday morning in March when he called me. I was rotating on an inpatient cancer rehabilitation service during my physical medicine and rehabilitation month. I was already home for the day, using my scissors to cut off the loose strings on the couch that my cats had ripped up. I saw him calling and picked up the phone. There was a lump in the back of his throat when he said hello, and I could tell he had been crying.

‘I’m at the hospital, and they said I’m going to die in five days,' he said to me. The six-hour drive to Wisconsin was a blur, probably because tears filled my eyes the entire time.

What I still find incredibly ironic to this day was that only three days prior to his phone call, I had sat around a table in the team room with my residents. Although we’d just met each other, we were sharing stories of our parents and realized we had a common experience. One resident had lost his dad to pancreatic cancer. Another had lost her dad at 16 to a cancer of unknown origin. And the other’s mom was currently living with breast cancer. We laughed and cried together, and it was a beautiful reminder that I wasn’t alone. Little did I know that days later I’d receive the worst news of my life and that their words of kindness were what I unknowingly needed.”

You can read the rest of the essay here.


Congratulations to all five of the winners in the Inspirational category. May this money help you to reach your dreams without quite so much financial worry holding you back.

And make sure to check out the five winners in the Financial category.