New Scholarship for First Year Medical Students – The Parthenon
Dr. Mary E. Smyrnioudis, a 2009 graduate of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, established the Dr. George Gevas Memorial Fellowship this year in honor of her grandfather who served as an obstetrician-gynecologist in Parkersburg, Virginia -Western, for 40 years.
Recipients of the Dr. George Gevas Memorial Scholarship should preferably be in Wood County, where Smyrnioudis grew up and his grandfather practiced. The scholarship is for a medical student entering the first year.
Gevas served in World War II in 1942. When drafted, he applied to be a doctor in hopes of one day becoming a doctor. Gevas then began training and became a surgical technician assisting in childbirth. His time serving in the US Army sparked his interest in becoming a doctor. Gevas was present on D-Day to help the injured.
Gevas spent 40 years of his life devoting his time helping others as an OB-GYN in Parkersburg, West Virginia. When he was not working, he devoted his time to his garden.
“He had a passion for gardening – he had a huge garden. He grew all kinds of vegetables. He worked tirelessly in this garden,” Smyrnioudis said. “I spent a lot of time with him in the garden picking vegetables or helping him plant. Everything he needed, everything I was assigned to do that day. He taught me to be patient, to work hard, and if you put your energy into something, it’s worth the wait.
Long days in the garden with his grandfather taught Smyrnioudis a lot of life skills and seeing him give back to his community has always inspired Smyrnioudis to do the same.
“He gave back all day as a doctor to a small town, but at the same time he loved getting all those vegetables and sharing them with so many people in the community and it also gave him great joy, and I so appreciate the simplicity in this return to different levels,” Smyrnioudis said.
“He taught me a lot of life skills working together growing up, from an early age,” and I took him with me. He always had this beautiful big smile and said, “you’re going to be my doctor one day” and that became my goal growing up. That’s what I’ve always worked for. I always said I was going to be a doctor, just like my grandfather.
Growing up seeing Gevas grandfather gives back, inspired Smyrnioudis to start giving back wherever she can. Smyrnioudis said she always gives back to Marshall because it’s a wonderful school and it gave her the opportunity to further her career and prepare her for a life in medicine.
After medical school, Smyrnioudis did her residency in emergency medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. After graduating from residency, she accepted a job at Mcleod Regional Medical Center in Florence, South Carolina, where she currently works.
“I wanted to give back in the form of this scholarship so that someone else would have this help to help them complete their medical education,” Smyrnioudis said.
The first recipient of the scholarship is Sophia Shank, a native of Davisville, West Virginia, who holds a bachelor of science degree in psychology from West Virginia University in Morgantown. Shank worked in a clinical psychology research lab, the Parent-Child Interaction Lab and the Parent-Child Interaction Therapy Lab, where she worked on projects. For the past two years, Shank has been part of the State Opioid Response Grant, where the lab trained therapists and the following year interviewed them about their cases of PCIT. Shank was able to learn a lot about accessing mental health resources statewide.
Shank’s inspiration to become a doctor came from his father,
“Seeing how people reacted to him really inspired me. They came to thank him for helping them or their family members,” Shank said. “One of the great things about medical school What I had to accept was being in debt, but thanks to this scholarship and a few others I received, it is helping me a lot by reducing the amount of debt I will be in outside of medical school. ”
After receiving the scholarship, Shank and his family were surprised and thrilled for another reason.
“My dad knew Dr. Gevas and told me he was such a good person, so that made him more likeable,” Shank said.
Being able to help a medical student go through the same school she graduated from was such an honor for Smyrnioudis.
It means a lot to me to be able to do this. I have been so proud of the scholarship, and it brings me so much joy and I wish he was alive to see it. I love that it’s something that will live on because he was a wonderful person and a wonderful doctor and actually the recipient was really nice, actually it was really nice because when she told her parents that she got this scholarship she said her dad actually worked with my grandfather and said how wonderful he was and i really feel like that closes the loop of this whole scholarship and I love that she got this scholarship and it’s going to someone who actually knew my grandfather,” Smyrnioudis said.