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Generous scholarship fuels promising researcher

She played soccer for the University of Texas; qualified for the Boston Marathon; earned a PhD in biology and is searching for a cure for cancer; and just finished her first year of medical school at Tufts. Oh, and she's expecting twins.

"Am I crazy?" Kristen Anderson, M09, the first recipient of the Anne G. Levingston, MD, Scholarship at Tufts University School of Medicine, posed the question with a smile. "Yes, I am a bit crazy. But I also want a job in which I can contribute back to society."

With unique Úlan, the blue-chip athlete-turned postdoctoral researcher-turned medical student with the spiky blonde hair is carrying on the spirit that inspired the Levingston award.

Presented on the basis of leadership, academic excellence and intellectual curiosity, the scholarship honors the memory of Dr. Anne Levingston, M32, one of three women in her graduating class at Tufts Medical School. She went on to become chief of psychiatry at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Brockton, and passed away in 2005 at 97.

Dr. Levingston's sister, Louise, who established the scholarship, couldn't be more pleased with the first recipient. "I am overwhelmed and impressed by Kristen, and don't know how they could have picked someone better," said the retired music teacher from Newton. "All I can say is, I'm grateful to do this for such a worthy person as Kristen."

In addition to her medical studies, Anderson continues to pursue cancer research in Tufts Medical School Dan Michael Rosenblatt's laboratory, focusing on the process of breast cancer metastasis to bone. "This is an important aspect of the disease," she said, "as it is responsible for high morbidity, and a high percentage of women with breast cancer have bone metastasis."

The Levingston Scholarship provides partial support toward her medical studies over four years. Anderson had the chance to thank Louise Levingston in person at the annual Charles Tufts Society luncheon hosted by President Lawrence S. Bacow at Gifford House for benefactors who have made bequests or life income gifts to the university.

"It was a nice opportunity to meet and chat with Miss Levingston and learn about her background, family, and what prompted her to contribute back to Tufts Medical School," Anderson said. "She was proud that her sister was one of so few women able to attend and finish medical school in her generation."

In an address to luncheon guests, Anderson drew on her marathon experience to express appreciation for the generosity that has made her medical studies possible. "What keeps me going? The support of the people along the way," she said. "You remember the ones who shout you home. Donors who give to the university keep students like us going."