By Lori Lyn Lirio
A GRADUATING Filipino-American medical student from Saipan was offered by Harvard University a USD30,000 worth of scholarship for a one-year master’s degree program.
Former Mount Carmel School student Fil Am Ryan Ortizo received a letter from Harvard University informing him that he was admitted to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is slated to graduate at Virginia Commonwealth University this year.
“We hope that you will join the class entering in the 2018-2019 academic year as a candidate for the full-time Master of Public Health (45-credit) in Health Management. Your expected graduation date is May 30, 2019,” the letter sent by the Harvard Committee on Admission and Degrees stated.
“You will be joining a group of students who bring with them not only impressive professional experience and excellent academic training, but also dedication to the profession of public health. You are to be commended on the fine record of achievement by which you earned your place in this year’s cohort. You will benefit from your association with each other as well as from the challenges of the public health program,” the letter further said.
In an interview, Ortizo said he applied to 13 schools for his Master’s degree in November 2017 and received acceptance letters and was offered scholarships from all of them – Harvard University, Johns Hopkins, Columbia University, Dartmouth, University of California Berkeley, Yale, Emory, Northwestern University, University of Miami, New York Medical College, Florida International University, Thomas Jefferson University, and University at Buffalo.
Ortizo is a valedictorian when he graduated at Mount Carmel School. He then went to New York University where he obtained a bachelor degree in Biology with double minor in Public Health and Chemistry. He graduated cum laude in 2014.
In his Facebook account, Ortizo announced that he decided to go to Harvard after medical school.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m truly grateful to be given this opportunity. Looking forward to another challenging chapter in my life! Thank you to everyone who has supported me through the years,” he said.
Ortizo will be attending the famed university in August.
Having accepted to 13 prestigious schools, Ortizo said he saw this as “another motivator to continue striving for the best.”
“My parents were ecstatic when they found out. They are really proud of me and are happy that I can continue doing what I enjoy,” he said.
Ortizo said he is grateful to his family members, friends, and mentors who have supported him through the years. He also offered help from anyone in the CNMI who is interested pursuing a career in medicine or public health.
“I encouraged them to contact me if they would like any advice or guidance.”