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Great Teaching Leaves a Mark

“She taught me very early in my career that I should work my hardest and only accept the best I have to give.

Dr. Shirley Siew and Breanna O'Keefe

Being a student in Dr. Shirley Siew’s class was never a spectator sport.

Legions of osteopathic medical students have gathered around the pathology specimens she has meticulously collected at MSU for more than 36 years. She knows the name of every student. And she knows the questions to ask that lead each one to make critical connections between classroom learning and the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

“From the beginning she treated us with the seriousness that would be required of us in our future professions,” says Youssef Kousa, a D.O./Ph.D. student in the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM). “What she taught is invaluable for me—and to all of her past students—to be able to help people.”

Recently, Youssef joined with fellow osteopathic medical resident Breanna O’Keefe to spearhead the creation of a student scholarship endowment in Dr. Siew’s honor.

“She taught me very early in my career that I should work my hardest and only accept the best I have to give,” says Breanna. “Dr. Siew’s willingness to help students—to provide not just answers, but an education—is something generations of physicians have been privy to.”

When MSUCOM graduates run into one another, a key question is always whether Dr. Siew is still there, according to Youssef.

“Everyone remembers being in that room and feeling the passion and energy she brought to her teaching,” says Youssef. “We wanted to start the scholarship because—just like her contributions to medicine—it is something that will endure.”

Numerous medical students contributed to create the scholarship, and Dr. Siew herself generously added to the fund. The award will support deserving students pursuing clinical or doctoral degrees from MSUCOM, starting in the fall of 2014.

To learn more about contributing to the Dr. Shirley Siew Student Award, contact Suzette Hittner, Executive Director of Constituent Programs at (517) 884-7430;