OHSU Global Overseas Scholarships for Students

The mission of OHSU Global Overseas program is to partner with the best public and private institutions in Southeast Asia to enhance OHSU's leadership in health and science innovation. 

Dear Schlesinger Family,

Thank you very much for your generosity and support of students interested in global studies. I am especially grateful to be a recipient of this grant, and look forward to completing my research project. I am currently a second year medical student at OHSU, and have strong interests in infectious disease and public health research. I’m originally from Pendleton, Oregon and attended college at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. It has been a goal of mine since high school to attend medical school at OHSU, and the past two years have been both challenging and extremely rewarding.

For my research project, I will be traveling to Thailand in April to conduct field research on the prevalence of Zika virus in the region. Although much effort has gone towards studying the Zika epidemic in South America, little attention has been paid to what might be an epidemic of comparative size in Southeast Asia. Since many endemic infections in the area, like Dengue virus, present very similarly to Zika, it’s thought that these viruses may be masking a high prevalence of Zika in parts of Thailand. I’ll first spend a month doing a clinical rotation at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, and then spend the next month traveling to eight different clinics throughout Thailand identifying potential cases of Zika. I’ll then analyze the samples at Siriraj for the presence of Zika biological markers. 

It is my hope that this research will contribute to the small but rapidly growing field of Zika virus research. With better information on the disease prevalence in Thailand, efforts can be taken to both prevent primary infection and mother-to-child transmission. Thank you again for your generosity, and I look forward to thanking you in person in the near future.


Emily Ager, MD Student
Class of 2019, School of Medicine

Dear Schlesinger Family,

Many thanks for your support of the OHSU Global Overseas Scholarships for Students. Because of your generosity, I will be able to spend one month in Lao, developing content for a course to train Nutrition Program Managers, offering a nutrition seminar to medical staff at Lao Friends Hospital for Children, and assisting with community health and nutrition screenings of children in rural Lao. I am currently a dietetic intern at OHSU, and also working on my M.S. in Human Nutrition. I am especially interested in the intersections between nutrition and the social determinants of health, and eventually intend to work in public health nutrition. I am confident this experience will enhance my training to become a registered dietitian nutritionist and my overall experience as a student at OHSU. Thank you again for making this possible.

Warm Regards,

Becky A. Johnson
Student, MS/Dietetic Internship Program
OHSU Graduate Programs in Human Nutrition

Portland State University Endowed Scholarships

The Weisenburg Scholarship has funded 13 students with total awards of $25,449 (from 2006 to 2017). The Ralph and Bunny Schlesinger Foundation Scholarship has funded 3 students from 2015-2017.

To Barry, Mark, Paul and Josh Schlesinger, and the friends and family of David Weisenburg,

When I found out that I was selected for this scholarship, I thought it would be important for me to take some time to read about Staff Sgt. David J. Weisenburg and to learn what kind of a man he was.  I felt connected to him by his love of family and his sense of duty and service to others. In particular, when reading that just before he was killed in action he’d gone home to see his sister’s wedding, I remembered going on leave from deployment to be home for my sister on her wedding day, and immediately coming back to a very tense situation involving China and North Korea.

For several reasons, I resonated with Weisenburg’s story and was saddened by his passing.  I am deeply humbled and appreciative to have been selected as the recipient of his memorial scholarship. It has been difficult for me to find the words to adequately express my yearning to honor his memory and all of the people we’ve lost in Operation Iraqi Freedom and in conflicts elsewhere. I hope you will understand why it has taken so long for me to write you this letter.

It has been challenging to transition back into civilian life and to navigate through the various obstacles related to pursuing a college degree. I cannot overstate what a tremendous relief it is to have additional financial resources toward this goal. Through my experiences with college, I’ve found a great love and passion for human-centered design, and dream of one day having a flourishing career in this field. I know that it will take a lot of hard work to get there, and I am truly grateful to have your support.

In my family we embrace our shared pride in military service. My great grandfather was a marine during WWII, and was wounded during the Battle of Iwo Jima; my father was in Operation Desert Storm. It was only natural that I would enlist after the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Service is an important part of our heritage.

When my military duties ended, my new struggle was to find other ways to serve my country and humanity, I knew that receiving an education would be key, and your thoughtful gift helps to keep this dream possible for me. As a student living off of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, I still have many educational expenses which are paid for out of pocket and your generous contribution of $2,500 will go a long way toward covering the full costs of my education at Portland State University. Thank you.

I cannot fully account for what expenses will come in 2017, but I know these expenses are waiting for me. For that expensive textbook, thank you. For that cutting-edge software I’ll need to make something beautiful, thank you. For all of the paper and toner I’ll run through on first, second, and third drafts of research papers, thank you. For the pens, highlighters, markers, erasers, and the graphite that I’ll feed through my mechanical pencil, thank you. For the pot of coffee that I’ll gulp down while cramming for a final exam, and the index cards I’ll be marking up, thank you.

I am grateful for every day, and every opportunity I have been fortunate enough to receive. Not a day goes by where I am not in awe of the men and women of our United States Armed Forces, and their dedication to our national defense. I remain full of gratitude for their sacrifices and filled with reverence for the burdens that they bear and the duties they carry out in our name to ensure our security back home – they have the watch, and I stand relieved.

Thank you again for your generous and thoughtful memorial gift. David’s legacy of service to others lives on.


Matt Geiger

Fmr. PO2 (SW/AW) US Navy

Portland State University

Class of 2018