Winter 2018

Why I Give

Jessica Bennett Shah, M10, MG10, is a member of the Dean's Inner Circle.

By Laura Ferguson

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Photo: Alonso Nichols

A PEOPLE PERSON Shah, a pediatrician at Tufts Medical Center, grew up in the tiny town of Jackson, New Hampshire, graduated from Colby College, and launched a career in a social work. Inspired by doctors she met while working at a women’s reproductive health clinic, she set her sights on medical school. “I have always been drawn to advocate for vulnerable people, and that history of service, I think, gave me the potential to be a good doctor.”

FIND YOUR SUPPORT A dismal grade on her first biochemistry exam proved a valuable failure. “All of us who did poorly had to meet as a study group—that’s where I met some of my best friends! That’s what I appreciate about the School of Medicine. It welcomed and supported me as a nontraditional student because it has a holistic view of what it means to be a doctor; you need the science, but it’s also about a love of people.”

TAKING THE LEAD She chaired her five-year reunion committee and considers the medical school one of her philanthropic priorities. For giving every year since graduation, she is a member of the Dean’s Inner Circle. “Your education is your foundation for your life; I certainly would not be where I am today without Tufts.” Gifts for financial aid are particularly important, so the school “can attract students from a wide range of backgrounds who want to go into a wide range of fields.”

WORLDLY AMBITIONS Shah was asked to join the School of Medicine’s volunteer leadership committee for Brighter World: The Campaign for Tufts. “When I reflect on my life, I hope that I am a good role model who honors the institutions that helped me succeed; giving back is an important part of my mark on the world.”

Every Gift Counts. Did you know that nearly 75 percent of donors to
Tufts give $250 or less each year? Learn more at

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