Inspired to Make a Difference

Foster Scholarship recipient Madeline Dixon pursues her dream of medical school at TTUHSC El Paso

In 2007, El Paso businessman Paul L. Foster donated $50 million to help create the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. His gift has also funded the tuition of dozens of medical students, known as the Foster Scholars. This academic year, the Foster Scholars program has awarded 90 students scholarships totaling $1.8 million; 78 students have received $15,000 Foster Scholarships, and 12 students have received $1,000 scholarships along with a non-resident tuition waiver.

One student benefiting from a $15,000 scholarship is Madeline Dixon, PLFSOM class of 2022. Dixon decided to become a doctor in eighth grade after undergoing knee surgery to fix an injury from playing soccer.

Foster Scholar Madeline Dixon, PLFSOM class of 2022.

Foster Scholar Madeline Dixon, PLFSOM class of 2022.

“Before the procedure, I was nervous in the preoperative room,” said Dixon, a graduate of Texas A&M University. “The anaesthesiologist was a young woman wearing dinosaur scrubs. She was kind, reassuring and explained the entire process to me. I woke up from that surgery and decided I wanted to be a doctor just like her. For many years, I wanted to be an anaesthesiologist, but now I am more interested in OB/GYN.  In college, I was part of a women’s leadership and philanthropy organization where I learned I love serving other women, and I hope to do so in my future career.”

Before coming to the PLFSOM, Dixon worked as a nursing assistant and research assistant, and volunteered at a hospital.

These experiences “were all valuable resources in teaching me about the medical field,” Dixon said.  “I believe that there is no perfect way to prepare for medical school. Regardless of your background, medical school will be a difficult transition. I am thankful for those experiences because I was able to understand the medical field and make an educated decision about entering into a medical career.”

She said medical school has been wonderful, but it has taken some getting used to – between the move from her hometown of Houston and adjusting to the work load of medical school.

“My peers here at PLFSOM are motivational, intelligent and they are the reason that it is all really worth it,” Dixon said. “I chose Paul L. Foster School of Medicine because I saw the way the students treated each other here. There is a mutual respect and a desire to be collaborative that is pervasive in every aspect; we are encouraged to be our best and help our colleagues be their best as well.”

Dixon said she appreciates how PLFSOM faculty focus on the success of every student.

“If I have a question about a subject, I know I can approach any faculty member and they treat teaching as their top priority,” she said. “The accessibility of my professors and the faculty-student cohesiveness at this school is unique and has been very valuable in my first semester here.”

Dixon said she cannot fully express how grateful she is to be a Foster Scholar.

“It is an honor to have been chosen for this scholarship, as well as an amazing financial blessing,” Dixon said. “This scholarship will reduce the amount of student loans I take out for school and will provide more flexibility in my future career. Being a Foster Scholar will positively impact both my education and career. The generosity of Mr. Foster and Mrs. De La Vega Foster is humbling, and I am so thankful for this opportunity.”