MC Students Accepted in Physician and Dental Scholarship Programs
June 24, 2014
Sydney West handles paperwork, assists families and performs other duties as a volunteer in the University of Mississippi Medical Center emergency room in Jackson.
A 20-year-old Mississippi College junior from Raymond, Sydney hopes to practice family medicine in the Magnolia State in a few years.
Helping meet her future medical school costs, West recently was selected to receive funding from the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program. It’s part of a state effort to increase the number of physicians serving the healthcare needs of rural Mississippians.
“I’m extremely excited – this is an amazing opportunity,” West said in late June. “I always wanted to be a doctor since middle school.”
A 2012 Hillcrest Christian School graduate, West is a biological sciences major at Mississippi College. Being the recipient of a scholarship of about $30,000 per-year for medical school is quite a blessing for the daughter of Charles and Cindy West. “It lifts the financial burden off of you.”
The program opens doors for rural Mississippi students to earn a seat in medical school, receive MCAT preparation valued at $2,000 and be awarded a $120,000 medical school scholarship spanning four years. In return the students must devote four years of service in a clinic-based medical practice in Mississippi in a community of less than 20,000 residents.
The state Legislature provides about $1.5 million each year to 50 medical students to support their education. Launched in 2007, the program identifies college sophomores and juniors showing the commitment and academic achievements to become rural primary care physicians.
Others selected for the honor in the physician scholarship program include Mississippi College seniors Christopher Rawls of Magnolia and Shelby Sattler of Lumberton.
Students selected for the program can be admitted to the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson or the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Hattiesburg.
The Legislature created a similar program in 2013 to increase the number of dentists in rural Mississippi communities. Up to five students are selected each year statewide.
MC seniors Mary Catherine Reynolds of Purvis and Alanna Nunez of Walnut Grove were recently named to participate in the Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program.
“I’ve always had a love for caring for people,” Reynolds said. With dentistry, there’s the opportunity to serve patients for decades, she noted.
Two of her cousins in Alabama are dentists and they encouraged her to give the profession a try.
A biology/medical sciences major at Mississippi College, the 20-year-old will be eligible to receive up to $35,000 a year to go towards her education at the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry.
A graduate of the Presbyterian Christian School in Hattiesburg, Mary Catherine spends long hours hitting the books at MC’s new medical sciences building.
But she also finds time to reel in fish as a member of Mississippi College’s bass fishing team. And she enjoys helping Clinton children with their homework as a volunteer at the university’s tutoring center at the Hunter Oaks Apartments.
For more information about the two programs, contact Jake Donald at 601-815-9022.
Photo: Alanna Nunez and Mary Catherine Reynolds, recently named recipients of the Mississippi Rural Dentist Scholarship Program.