When Alexis Meriweather (MD Class of 2018) was named a Rawls Scholar of Medicine, her reward wasn’t solely having her tuition covered at IU School of Medicine. It was affirmation in the face of others’ doubts. “I was told I would not get into IU,” she said. “They told me I shouldn’t even go to my interview.” Persistence, though, is a constant trait for the Michigan City native. The oldest of nine children to working class parents, Meriweather has always known stellar academic performance was necessary to get a scholarship.
While the Rawls Scholarship helps, Meriweather, who holds a degree in kinesiology, works weekends as a manager at a McDonald’s restaurant and takes out loans to foot the remaining bill for medical school. The financial aid she does receive grants Meriweather the flexibility to pursue her ultimate goal. She wants to specialize in family medicine and practice in a low-income community in Indiana.
Meriweather knows that for some black patients, seeing a familiar face can make a difference in choosing to seek treatment. “It makes a big difference going to see someone who looks like you,“ she said, “because people think if you look like them you can understand where they’re coming from.”