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Milna Rufin’s family has endured many hardships over the years. Having a role model in her mother, who moved to the United States from the Philippines to attend medical school and pay for her siblings’ education, Rufin has always dared to dream big.

After undergrad at NYU, earning a degree in history and journalism with plans for law school on the horizon, Rufin landed a job as a healthcare writer for the Clinton Foundation — where she discovered a passion for medicine. Switching gears, Rufin aspired to become a doctor, but pursuing further schooling proved to be quite an undertaking.

"Writing about healthcare, I realized I belonged in the world of medicine,” said Rufin, now a fourth-year medical student at Weill Cornell Medicine. “But choosing to go back to school was nerve-racking for me, because I wasn’t sure how I would be able to pay for any of it."

Thanks to the generosity of Weill Cornell Medicine’s numerous donors, Rufin received substantial scholarships to help defray the cost of medical school: the Siegel Family Student Prize, the Rudin Primary Care Scholarship, and the C.V. Starr Scholarship.

Now, she’s set to graduate this month, adding two letters — M.D. — next to her name. She will begin her residency training in primary care at NYU Langone Medical Center-Bellevue Hospital Center, with plans to deliver clinical care in underserved urban communities.

"Scholarships are game changers. They can change the landscape of a person’s life," Rufin said. "With my Weill Cornell scholarship, I know it will improve the lives of my future family; and I’m hoping, the lives of my future patients."