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The Roger D. Semerad Scholarship For Research in the Neurosciences at Georgetown University Medical Center

This scholarship honors the memory of Roger D. Semerad, a creative corporate and public sector executive, who concentrated his career on helping young people succeed by improving America’s educational and job training systems.  As a leader on education and workforce initiatives, Mr. Semerad advised US Presidents and Fortune 50 CEOs in promoting bold action to bring about progressive changes in America’s education system. 

In 1985, Mr. Semerad was diagnosed with chronic progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS) while he was serving as the Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Labor. At that time, there was little medical research on MS and no therapies offered hope in slowing or altering the progression of his disease.  Mr. Semerad, who never backed down from a challenge, fought MS courageously for 27 years, while retaining his charm and good humor.  He passed away in 2012 from complications of the disease.

This Roger D. Semerad Scholarship is being established in the hope that his legacy will encourage bright, young scholars to embark on a career in the field of neurology and bring their energy, creativity and bold new answers to treating and curing MS.  

Type of Scholarship

An annual scholarship of $4,500 awarded in April of each year by the TurnFirst Foundation to support an 8 – 10 week research internship under the direction of Dr. Carlo Tornatore, Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center, and Vice Chairman of the Georgetown University Medical Center Department of Neurology.

The TurnFirst Foundation

TurnFirst.org is an on-line resource that assists newly diagnosed patients with learning about and living with MS. Our unique partnership of top MS specialists and patients provides a single, trusted resource for learning about and living with MS.  We are dedicated to assisting the thousands of people who must face their diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) each year and we have a Facebook community of 27,000+ people from around the world who we keep abreast of the latest news and information.

Criteria for Selection

Applicants shall be in their 1st year of study at Georgetown University Medical School (GU) and primarily have grades of Honors or High Pass.  Preference will be given to students who plan to pursue a specialty in the field of neuroscience.

Scope of Work

The Scholarship recipient will participate in and support 8-10 weeks of research in the Department of Neurology at Georgetown University Medical Center under the direction of Dr. Carlo Tornatore.

The Scholarship recipient will also be expected to review and prepare additional material for the TurnFirst Foundation’s website and promote the use of the TurnFirst Foundation in the medical community when doctors are counseling newly diagnosed MS patients.

A written report will be submitted at the end of the internship outlining the research experience, its value to the recipient, and the nature of the work done with the TurnFirst Foundation.

Application requirements and timeframe

Applicant must provide an essay outlining his/her education and career plans and stating why he/she is interested in this particular opportunity.

Applications will be accepted until January 10th.

Review Process

The TurnFirst Foundation will make a lump sum payment of $4,500 to Georgetown University in support of the Scholarship by the first of February.

Georgetown University will announce the availability of the Scholarship on its List Serve and promote it in other ways.  TurnFirst will promote the scholarship with postings on its website, Face Book page, and with supplementary mailings and flyers.

All applications will be received by Georgetown with copies to TurnFirst.  Upon review, finalists will be interviewed by Dr. Tornatore and forwarded to the executive committee of TurnFirst for consideration.  Final selection of the Scholarship recipient will be made jointly.  In any given year, TurnFirst reserves the right not to award a scholarship if no applicants meet the requirements or should no clinical assistance be needed.  The announcement of the Scholarship recipient will be made in March.