Dr. Kenneth F. Swaiman Medical Student Scholarship
Dr. Kenneth F. Swaiman Medical Student Scholarship

Dr. Kenneth F. Swaiman Medical Student Scholarship

To honor the legacy of Dr. Swaiman and his contribution to child neurology, the Child Neurology Foundation (CNF) offers the Dr. Kenneth F. Swaiman Medical Student Scholarship thanks to the support of his wife and pediatric neurologist Dr. Phyllis Sher.

Administered annually, the $6,000 summer research scholarship will be given to each of four (4) U.S. or Canadian medical students who have an interest in exploring a career in child neurology. Travel expenses up to $1,500 will be provided to attend the annual Child Neurology Society meeting. The award will be open to second- or third-year medical students for a basic or clinical research project in child neurology conducted under the direction of a child neurologist.

Applications for the 2024 Swaiman Scholarship are currently closed. Confirmation of receipt will be sent to all applicants. If confirmation is not received within 2 business days, please call Nyechi Oleka at 859.551.4986. Applications will be reviewed by a committee of child neurology faculty. All applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision by May 17.

For more information, contact: 

Nyechi Oleka, CNF Programs Coordinator
[email protected] 

2023 Dr. Kenneth F. Swaiman Medical Student Scholarship Recipients

Child Neurology Foundation 2023 Swaiman Scholarship Recipient Tracy De Los Santos

Child Neurology Foundation 2023 Swaiman Scholarship Recipient Tracy De Los Santos


I am working in collaboration with applicant Lizbeth Alvarez, MPH. Reports have shown that the number of individuals with disabilities is increasing disproportionately with the number of medical providers who have at least some familiarity with this population. We hope to address this issue by establishing an elective course about caring for individuals with disabilities that we hope to eventually have incorporated into the iExplore curriculum at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine. Through pre and post-surveys we want to explore and assess the changes in attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, and comfort in providing care to individuals with disabilities and their families over time, as a result of taking our course.




Child Neurology Foundation 2023 Swaiman Scholarship Recipient Ashwin Mahesh

Child Neurology Foundation 2023 Swaiman Scholarship Recipient Ashwin Mahesh

I am a current first year medical student and aspiring neurologist passionate about the intersection between social disparities, data science, and clinical practice. I am eager to learn data-centered approaches to uncovering disparity and to directly fuel interventions to serve patients in need.  

In my future career as a neurologist, I am determined to make an impact on systemic inequity through clinical practice, research, community intervention development, and policy advocacy. Prior to medical school, I had the privilege of cofounding and directing the expansion of a free medical clinic network in Charlottesville dedicated to serving patients experiencing homelessness. My experiences in Charlottesville have sparked a determination within me to further investigate ways in which Health System interventions can lead to drastic improvements in social disparities and systemic neglect. This work has further informed my current work building a similar medical clinic network in NYC. In my future as a neurologist, I am eager to continue learning methods to uncover disparity and to partner with our patients to build evidence-based systems of support.  

 I am drawn to neurology for many reasons. Not only am I fascinated by the brain and our nervous system, but the rapid advances in neurological discovery over the last two decades excites me. Many of these discoveries have led to incredible impacts on patient care and have worked to ameliorate pain that many of our patients face each day. As a future neurologist and scientist, I hope to work alongside my colleagues to contribute to discovery in this amazing field and make a real difference for patients experiencing pain.  

I am incredibly thankful to the Child Neurology Foundation for the opportunity to partner this summer, to learn from my mentor Dr. Zachary Grinspan, and to work together towards our common goal of improving outcomes for children with neurological conditions.


Child Neurology Foundation 2023 Swaiman Scholarship Recipient Ernesto Luna Melendez

Child Neurology Foundation 2023 Swaiman Scholarship Recipient Ernesto Luna Melendez

There is no question that the human brain is the most complex and fascinating organ. I entered medical school with a deep fascination for the brain and learning more about it clinically has only reinforced that interest. Unfortunately, neurological diseases remain as some of the most devastating and complex pathologies that affect adults and children alike. As a future physician, I aspire to have a career in which I can help advance our understanding of neurological diseases and make a significant impact in the lives of my patients. I am particularly interested in the field of pediatric neuro-oncology and hope to be involved in efforts to develop new therapies for children affected by brain tumors. I am immensely grateful to the Child Neurology Foundation and Dr. Phyllis Sher for their generous support of my research in pediatric neurological malignancies 

2022 Inaugural Dr. Kenneth F. Swaiman Medical Student Scholarship Recipients

Connolly Head shot 1

Congratulations, Daniel Connolly, an MD/PhD candidate at University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine!

When asked about his career goals, Daniel had the following to say:

“I am pursuing MD-PhD training to prepare for a career devoted to improving our understanding of childhood neurological disorders through basic research and applying this knowledge in clinical practice. Basic research on brain function and disease is essential for the development of new therapies, and as a future physician-scientist I hope to be deeply involved in this process, developing new knowledge in the laboratory and helping apply it in the clinic. After completing my training, I plan to pursue a career in academic medicine, spending time in the lab studying basic mechanisms of childhood neurological disorders and the rest of my time in the clinic seeing children affected by these conditions. I hope to make meaningful improvements in the lives of my future patients and their families, and I hope that my discoveries in the lab will positively impact the lives of many future patients as well.”



Alyssa Edwards headshot

Congratulations, Alyssa Edwards, MPH, an MD candidate at Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine!

Alyssa Edwards is a second-year medical student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She holds an MPH as well as a BA in cognitive science and a minor in psychology from Case Western Reserve University. Alyssa’s past and current research interests are in autism spectrum disorder, neuroimaging, global health, and health disparities in individuals with developmental disabilities.

Prior to starting medical school, she has had a diverse background in research: from tracing the underlying causes of Autism using cerebral organoids at the Jackson Laboratory, looking at genetic markers associated with prostate cancer through the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, to traveling to Ghana where she spent three months researching biomarkers associated with resistance to malaria.

Alyssa’s initial motivations for neurodevelopmental research stemmed from growing up with her cousin who has an intellectual developmental disorder. This passion further led her to spend over 500+ hours volunteering for Ohio Special Olympics. Her involvement in Special Olympics showed her how providing intimate personal connections is just as important as discovering scientific breakthroughs, and it is her desire to continue these types of relationships with her patients in the future.

She is currently working with Dr. Alexander Cohen at Boston Children’s Hospital on a study where she will use coordinate network mapping to determine brain networks most associated with stimulant use in patients with ADHD. Alyssa is excited for a career in which she can continue to follow her passions for neurodevelopmental disabilities with hopes of making a significant impact in the field of child neurology.


Geetanjali Rajamani Headshot

Congratulations, Geetanjali Rajamani, an  MD candidate at University of Minnesota Medical School!

When asked about her career goals, Geetanjali had the following to say:

“As my first year at the University of Minnesota Medical School draws to a close, I have been able to reflect on the variety of clinical specialties I have been exposed to. In particular, child neurology stands out to me. I am mesmerized by the capacity of the human brain to perform functions we take for granted in a matter of milliseconds; I enjoy the puzzle-like manner in which neurologists correlate clinical symptoms to brain anatomy. I hope to use my love for the human brain to help children with neurologic conditions go on to live beautiful lives. I aspire to have a career in which I can make meaningful clinical impact on kids and advance research regarding devastating neurologic diseases. I am extremely grateful to the Child Neurology Foundation for their generous support of my research this summer – thank you!”

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