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Mississippi College Student Neha Dhaliwal Says Pandemic Helped Spur Medical Career

MC senior Neha Dhaliwal is a biological sciences major on the Clinton campus.
MC senior Neha Dhaliwal is a biological sciences major on the Clinton campus.

Neha Dhaliwal says her mother’s service as a nurse during a worldwide health crisis helped convince the Mississippi College student to become a physician.

Since mid-March, the COVID-19 pandemic “has definitely solidified my passion to pursue medicine,” the MC senior says.

“Observing the frontline healthcare workers, including my mom, sacrifice everything to provide the best care for their patients has further inspired me to enter the medical field.”

Making her dream happen, Neha will be awarded a $120,000 scholarship (over four years) to attend the University of Mississippi Medical School in Jackson. The Madison resident is among eight MC recipients of UMMC’s rural physician scholarship program.

The Mississippi Legislature annually pays for the scholarships. Following their graduations, the physicians must work in rural, underserved regions in the Magnolia State.

A member of MC’s Class of 2020, Dhaliwal, 21, first got interested in math and sciences as a freshman at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Ridgeland.

“Looking back, I fondly remember dissections of pigs’ hearts and intestines. My classmates would remember those moments in the classroom with a grimace,” she said.

The daughter of Jeetpal and Kanwaljit Dhaliwal is interested in pediatrics. But Neha is open to considering other medical specialties. Her dad, Jettpal or Jay, is a business owner.

Growing up in Canton and Gluckstadt in Madison County, Neva discovered healthcare services could be better in rural Mississippi communities. She wants to be part of the solution.

“I am blessed to have the opportunity to give back to the community that has provided me and my family with so much,” Neha Dhaliwal said. The scholarship “allows me to cultivate my passion to pursue medicine and serve in a rural community in Mississippi.”

Mississippi College student Bailey Steen is equally thrilled to receive a rural physicians scholarship. She will pursue her education at the University of Mississippi’s School of Dentistry in Jackson.

“I would just like to express how honored I am to have been chosen to serve rural Mississippi,” Steen said. “This has been a dream I’ve been working towards for 10 years. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to continue in my pursuit. I’ve grown up in a small town and that’s where my heart is.”

The Florence resident thanks MC professors and Mississippi dentists for helping guide her career path.

Other Mississippi College recipients of UMMC scholarships include T.J. McIntosh of Monroe County, Macia Outlaw of Brandon, and Rebecca Grewe of Flora. Also: Hannah Mixon of Vancleave, Max Pappas of Laurel and Kenley Cochran of Beaumont.

Once they graduate, the Mississippi College students will enroll at UMMC in 2021 and 2022.