Founders’ Leadership Award

This $3,000 scholarship provided by the Osteopathic Founders Foundation, to be used during the recipient’s third year of study, will annually recognize, honor, and encourage one osteopathic medical student who exhibits the foundational leadership skills that will serve their profession and their community now and in the future.

The recipient will be selected by a committee of the Board of Directors from all applications received from the combined OSU-COM campuses.

Eligibility Criteria

*  Rising OMS III student
*  Enrolled and in good standing in the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine
*  Demonstrated excellence in academic achievement
*  Demonstrated leadership capability

Required Documents for Application

*  Personal statement describing noteworthy accomplishments in student activities which demonstrate the applicant’s ability to be a leader (i.e. Student Government, SOMA, etc.). The personal statement should demonstrate how the applicant meets the eligibility criteria and upholds the purpose of this award. It should also highlight leadership activities and experiences that add to the individual’s worthiness to receive this award. (written by applicant)
*  Current photo (in jpg or png format)
*  CV

*  Transcript (a current unofficial transcript is acceptable)
*  One physician faculty letter of recommendation (may be emailed separately to

Application Deadline is May 31, 2024 at 5:00pm

2023 Founders' Leadership Award

Picture - Schnitker, Joseph crop

A recipient of the 2023 Founders’ Leadership Award is Joseph Schnitker. Joseph earned degrees in biology and anthropology from the University of Oklahoma. He is a member of Sigma Sigma Phi Honor Society and the Gold Humanism Honor Society as well as multiple student clubs at OSU-COM at the Cherokee Nation. After taking a course in American Sign Language, he was able to assist in the care of a deaf patient with a hand fracture while volunteering at a clinic. Becoming a physician will allow him to lead by example in providing empathetic and scientifically excellent care to the LGBTQ+ community.

Picture - Jones, Deseree crop

A recipient of the 2023 Founders’ Leadership Award is Deserée Jones. Deserée received a degree in cellular and molecular biology from Northeastern State University and is an Albert Schweitzer Fellow. In 2022, she assisted in the organization of a three-day regional conference with 200 medical students of color from 7 states. During the past year, she created and implemented a health careers program within an alternative high school where she has mentored individual students. She has also been a student representative for Tulsa County Medical Society, Oklahoma State Medical Association and the American Medical Association’s Minority Issues Committee.

Past Recipients

2014Matthew L. Haney, Matthew W. Smith
2015Taylor J. Craft
2016Owais Durrani
2019Christopher L. McNeil
2020Rebecca Gaglia, Anh Lam, Toni Nigro
2021Adrianna Elbon
2022Jordyn Austin, Alexander Douglas
2023Joseph Schnitker, Deserée Jones

Osteopathic Founders Foundation

8801 South Yale Ave., Suite 400 | Tulsa, Oklahoma 74137 | P (918) 551-7300 | F (918) 551-7336