Shenel (Franklin) Heisler

Medical student Shenel (Franklin) Heisler, received the 2016 $1,000 Myrtle Siegfried, MD, and Michael Vigilante, MD, Scholarship available to first-year medical students who are residents of Berks, Lehigh, or Northampton counties. She attends the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Pictured below on her wedding day with Lt. Andrew Heisler, a supply officer in the Navy. He is currently deployed on the USS Truxtun.

Shenel Heisler said, "During my undergraduate education I started to work in different health care settings which made me realize that I wanted to become a physician. The time doctors spent learning about the human body in every way allowed them to use an exponential amount of information to treat their patient in the best possible form. By committing to be a physician, they were committing to a career of lifelong education that would continuously improve the life of others."

To help local medical students offset the cost of education, former Foundation trustee, Elena Pascal, and her sister, Carla Vigilante, established this scholarship in 1999 in memory of their parents who were Allentown physicians. Pascal said, "Shenel embodies the spirit of the way my parents cared for patients."

Heisler said, "This scholarship means so much to me. Originally being from the Lehigh Valley, I have had first-hand experience with the wonderful providers that work in the area. To meet Dr. and Mrs. Pascal who already work in this area, and to hear firsthand from them how much their parents loved to provide for their patients, makes me feel truly honored."

Narrowing down her two specialty, she said, "I'm leaning towards OB/GYN or pediatrics. Every day I seem to lean more and more towards pediatrics. I truly love helping children! We will see if my decision is the same once I get to clinical rotations. I plan on entering every rotation with an open mind, because you never know what you will like! But at the moment my gut is telling me that I will end up being in the pediatric field."

She encourages others to apply for scholarships through the Foundation and as far as medical school, she offers this advice: "Work hard, and pursue this dream for the right reasons. If you are truly interested in helping people for the rest of your life, I feel that this is a great way to do it. Have perseverance, and do not doubt yourself. There will certainly be some bumps in the road, but as long as you are willing to put the time and effort in, you can do it!"