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Scholarships Help MC Students Start Medical School


MC graduates Caleb Buckner, Leah Bowlin, Shelby Swede and Zachary Watters.

Shelby Swede traveled thousands of miles away to London, England, and that’s where she discovered to pursue a career in the medical field.

Studying abroad in Mississippi College’s London Semester program a few years ago, the Olive Branch resident had time to think and decide on her profession.

Today, Shelby is a first-year student at the University of Mississippi Medical School in Jackson. Funding from the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program helped the Mississippian pursue her dreams. The $30,000 per-year scholarship is a real blessing to the 2016 MC graduate. She earned her bachelor’s in biology-medical sciences on the Clinton campus.

The program, she said, is a “one of a kind opportunity to really make a difference in our state. If you want to pursue a career in rural Mississippi, give this program a shot.”

Supported by the Mississippi Legislature each year, the scholarship program “prepares its students academically, financially, and socially for medical school,” Swede said. “I’m honored to be part of such an amazing organization.”

Swede is a graduate of Olive Branch High.

Caleb Buckner of Starkville, Leah Bowlin of Mendenhall, and Zachary Watters of Flora are the other MC graduates enjoying the benefits of the program’s scholarships this Fall. Bowlin, who graduated from Mississippi College in May 2018, is a 2014 McLaurin High graduate. Leah’s first classes at the University of Mississippi Medical School will begin in August.

The program is housed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

When it comes to medical care, Mississippi remains vastly underserved, says Dan Coleman, the program’s associate director.

New medical students from MC and other schools across the state are clearly making a difference in addressing that problem.

In her decision to become a physician, Shelby Swede said it was the perfect fit for her interests. “I knew I wanted to do something that incorporated what I loved academically with the ability to have relationships with all kinds of people,” she said. Medicine became the best field for the MC graduate to achieve her life’s goals.

The scholarships to students apply to either the University of Mississippi Medical School or the College of Osteopathic Medicine at William Carey University in Hattiesburg. It adds up to $120,000 over four years. Graduates of the program must work four years at a clinic-based practice in a Mississippi community of 20,000 or fewer people.