Now in its fourth year, the AOF Golden Ticket Scholarship program, recognizes exceptional achievement in Osteopathic medical students while helping to address the burden student loans place on future generations of physicians. This year, three finalists were selected. The Golden Ticket Winner was announced during the 2020 Virtual Honors Gala on October 16, 2020.

Sara Ann Lohbauer, OMS III - Winner

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine - Bradenton Campus

Sara Ann Lohbauer began her medical career as a Certified Nursing Assistant before enrolling in LECOM-Bradenton, where she is a third-year Osteopathic medical student who is concurrently completing a Master’s degree in Health Services Administration. Her academic excellence has been rewarded with numerous scholarships and awards.

In addition to her many demands as a student leader, Student Doctor Lohbauer spends significant time attending national meetings, advocating for the inclusion of student voices. She is an active member of the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP) serving as its National Parliamentarian in 2019-2020. Her classmates elected her President of the LECOM Student Government Association in 2018-19.

Having grown up in a small farm town, Student Doctor Lohbauer aspires to be a rural medicine primary care physician. She hopes to use federal loan forgiveness programs to help relieve some of her many medical school loans.

Student Doctor Lohbauer “continues to grow in knowledge and skills through her endless curiosity,” says Nicole Myers, DO, MS, OPP Course Director at LECOM-Bradenton. “She is a team player, displays eagerness for taking care of others, and wants to keep expanding her reach.”

Molly Farrell, OMS IV - Finalist

University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine

Student Doctor Farrell is an active, dedicated leader on campus of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM), where she is in her fourth year. She is a student representative on the school’s Admission Committee to help select the TCOM class of 2024. As a member of her class’s FOCUS group, she serves as a liaison between students and faculty to present student concerns and resolve issues. She is the treasurer of TCOM’s Class of 2021 Government as well as a teaching assistant in TCOM Osteopathic manipulation laboratory.

Even with these demanding responsibilities, Student Doctor Farrell has attained a position on the Dean’s list each year of medical school as well as the Translating Osteopathic Understanding into Community Health (TOUCH) Gold Award Recipient in 2019 for 100+ hours of community service. Due to her academic excellence, she has earned several TCOM scholarships to help offset her medical school costs.

Her work as a student researcher on projects examining traumatic brain injury and neurological impairment in HIV patients, for instance, resulted in several publications and professional presentations.

Frank Filipetto, DO, Endowed Professor and Dean of TCOM, notes her professionalism, work ethic and motivation to learn. “She is a compassionate individual who is able to quickly build rapport with her patients. She engages with the entire health care team and shows natural leadership.”

Nicholas Huerta, OMS III - Finalist

Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine - California

Third-year Osteopathic medical student Nicholas Huerta earned a Master’s degree in Medical Health Science from Touro California in 2018 before enrolling in the school’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he currently ranks 7th in his class.

The son of a police officer and a bookkeeper, Student Doctor Huerta has worried that his background put a medical education out of reach. In addition to loans and scholarship income, he earns extra money by tutoring fellow students through a federal work-study program.

Despite these challenges and the rigors of medical school, Student Doctor Huerta is committed to local outreach. He serves as President of his school’s Sigma Sigma Phi chapter, the Osteopathic service association, has co-chaired his campus’s largest community club event, and regularly volunteers time treating clinic patients with OMM.

Active in research, Student Doctor Huerta completed a summer research internship at Anne Arundel Medical Center in 2019, leading to one submitted manuscript in Surgical Endoscopy and two accepted posters, just some of the many posters and articles he has contributed to.

Walter Hartwig, PhD, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Touro University California, calls Student Doctor Huerta the “most proficient learner” in his class: “He is an exemplary student, professional in every way, always prepared, and possessed of a positive mental attitude no matter his challenge.”