A simple scholarship could lead to lives saved

Hanna Ebel
Hanna Ebel (A&S '21)

As a young child, Hanna Ebel (A&S '21) had aspirations of being a veterinarian. However, as she entered her teen years, things changed.

“At some point I decided I wanted to help people more than animals,” said the Pitt sophomore waiting to learn if she will be accepted into Pitt’s Emergency Medicine program.

Maybe it was her aunt’s cancer diagnosis at an early age that piqued her interest in medicine and tipped the scales. Perhaps it was her mother’s constant encouragement that she and Hanna find ways to help others and to give back to the community. One thing that is certain: her decision to focus on emergency medicine was solidified when she took a class at Pitt her freshman year to become certified as an emergency medical technician.

“Hanna was always eager to learn new skills during our weekly three-hour lab sessions,” Evan Vogel, Adjunct Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Emergency Medicine said. “Her great sense of humor enhanced our labs with much needed laughter. I’m excited to see her hard work is paying off.”

Hanna says the three-hour labs flew by and now that she is certified, she enjoys the excitement of responding to 911 calls. “I feel like I’m making a difference when I’m using my education in an emergency medicine capacity,” said Hanna who worked as an EMT in her home town of Punxsutawney over the summer. “I love to see the immediate results of the care I am providing to a person in extreme need. Plus, there’s never a boring day in the emergency room because each case is different.”

Initially, Hanna applied to a few other schools, but says Pitt was always her number one choice. However, the University of Pittsburgh was one of the more expensive schools. In fact, she says the cost was a bit beyond her family’s means.

“With scholarship support, I don't have to be chasing money and my degree at the same time.”
- Hanna Ebel

“I had a bit of a ‘freak out’ when I thought about the amount of debt my parents and I were going to have to take on, but I knew it was going to be worth it for the quality of education I can get at Pitt,” she said.

Luckily, the University offered Hanna two scholarships—the Dietrich Fund Undergraduate Scholarship, which has been helping students since 2016, and the Joseph G. Jurcic Endowed Scholarship, of which Hanna is the first recipient. Dr. Jurcic’s (A&S ’84) scholarship supports students who are eligible to enroll in Honors College courses.

“Getting those scholarships takes a load off my mind today and off my finances in the future,” Hanna said. “I don’t have to be chasing money and my degree at the same time.”

Hanna says getting scholarship support from Pitt also allows her parents to have a little more in reserve to help her younger brother when it comes time for him to go to college.

Students are not admitted into the Pitt School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Emergency Medicine program until after their sophomore year. In the meantime, Hanna is completing the classes needed for admission to the program and is catching the eye of her professors.

Hanna Ebel hopes to become an emergency room doctor.
Hanna Ebel hopes to become an emergency room doctor

“I truly enjoyed having Hanna as a student in my general chemistry classes last year. Her hard work and dedication made her an obvious choice when I chose my Undergraduates Teaching Undergraduates (UTU) student to run help sessions last spring,” Margaret Vines, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Department of Chemistry said. “I love seeing her mind work as she solves problems and her smile brightens everyone’s Friday afternoons.”

Hanna says her scholarships allow her to help with the UTU program weekly and volunteer for efforts such as Pitt Make a Difference Day because she does not have to maintain an off-campus job.

“The generosity of those who create scholarships makes such a big difference in the lives of students, their families, and the community,” Hanna said. “I can’t thank enough Dr. Jurcic, the Dietrich Foundation, and everyone who donates to Pitt for making my future possible.”

Follow this link to read more stories from this issue of the Chancellor's Circle Update.