A Meaningful Match: AMSA and Phi Theta Kappa partner to offer scholarship and opportunities for community college students

May 25, 2023

AMSA has been committed to equity, advocacy and activism in medicine since its founding in 1950, from providing healthcare to rural and indigenous communities in the 60s to campaigning against the influence of the pharmaceutical industry in the 2000s. Now, AMSA has teamed up with Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) to support community college students on their journey to becoming doctors. 

With 3.8 million members, PTK is the only official honor society for two-year colleges recognized by the American Association of Community Colleges. PTK and AMSA share a mission to develop student leaders, promote self-efficacy and foster equity in education. One way to do that is by supporting underrepresented students – including first-generation students, students from single-parent households and veterans – as they pursue medical education. 

So, what does the partnership mean for students? AMSA and PTK have joined forces to support future physicians in two ways. First, PTK members are eligible for discounted AMSA membership – only $50 for four years of community and networking (plus a bonus gift for joining!). Secondly, AMSA is offering a Pre-Med Transfer Scholarship of $5,000 to a PTK member to bring them closer to their goal of a career in medicine. 

Brendan Batchelder was announced as the 2023 scholarship winner at PTK’s annual Catalyst (their annual member event and celebration) in April. Brendan — a first-generation college student, veteran, son of an immigrant and parent to two children — plans to become a pathologist with additional interests in research and development, but he didn’t always see medicine as an attainable path. He graduated from high school with a 2.1 GPA and concluded that school wasn’t for him, deciding to serve in the Marine Corps instead. After completing his service, he enrolled in Paris Junior College in Texas, which he says changed his life. The same student who failed high school biology now has a 4.0 GPA and plans to transfer to Texas A&M to pursue both an M.D. and Ph.D. Brendan also stays involved with advocacy and community service by volunteering at the Paris Regional Medical Center and working with three nonprofits: The Young Invincibles, The Education Trust and Breakthrough Texas.

(Left to right above: Jamie Thayer-Scates, AMSA CEO; Brendan Batchelder; M1 Texas A&M SOM; Hannah Hendrix, Past AMSA President)

“This scholarship holds profound significance to me. As I conclude my community college education, I am ready to embark on a new journey — to seek new opportunities to contribute to a new community,” says Brendan. “Throughout my time in community college, I devoted myself to self-discovery as a student and discovered the power of my voice to be an instrument of change. This scholarship serves as the ideal bridge between life-chapters, acknowledging my past achievements while granting me the chance to combine my unwavering passion with my newly honed advocacy skills to shape a bold, new future.”

“We believe doctors from diverse backgrounds are better equipped to serve a diverse patient population with empathy,” quotes Jamie Scates, CEO of AMSA, “By offering discounted AMSA memberships and all the support that entails, AMSA hopes to pave the way for more students like Brendan to shape the future of medicine.”

Learn more about AMSA’s mission and legacy of advocacy