Three JCJC Students earn Rural Physicians Scholarships

Written By: Teresa Martin
Email Address: teresa.martin@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2011-07-29 15:34:01

ELLISVILLE – Three Jones County Junior College sophomore graduates are the first Jones students to be chosen to participate in the Mississippi Rural Physicians scholarship undergraduate program. Laurel’s Shemiko McInnis, Jennifer DeWolf of Florence and Diondrae Reddick of Waynesboro will receive rural physician mentoring, academic enrichment on rural health care topics, MCAT preparation and consideration for direct admissions to medical school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where they can receive up to $30,000 per year in scholarship funds if admitted. 
 
“They are ambassadors of the JCJC Science department,” said biology instructor, Austin Smith. “They earned these scholarships. They exceeded our high expectations and they left Jones well prepared for medical school because of the rigorous science classes they had at JCJC.”
 
JCJC microbiology instructor Carol Bergin boasts she is one of the toughest microbiology instructors in the state. “It is our job as instructors both to prepare and to engage those students who show true determination and focus for medicine and science. The science and medical fields are not easy so students have to be focused and prove they are able to handle the demands of medical school,” said Bergin. “I taught all three students and they competed state-wide with all the sophomores from every community college and university applying for this program and they earned a scholarship. That’s quite an accomplishment.”
 
Part of their success, Bergin said can be attributed to the fact they learned how to apply lecture concepts to lab exercises and were able to think through experimental scenarios. DeWolf admits Bergin’s classes weren’t easy, but she said she feels more confident pursuing a medical career.
 
“I definitely feel prepared to go to medical school. I want to specialize in Obstetrics and Gynecology,” said DeWolf. 
 
McInnis has her eyes set on the pediatrics specialty. “I love kids and I will work with the kids who really need care while I earn my degree, which will give me lots of experience,” said McInnis. 

All three students acknowledge receiving this scholarship means less debt when they graduate. Eric Shows, JCJC Science Division chair noted these students are embarking on a unique journey filled with opportunities. 
 
“They will be mentored by other physicians while they are taking classes relative to their field experiences,” said Shows. “All of the students in this rural physician’s scholarship program are also helping people who really need their medical services when they graduate.”
 
When the three JCJC students and the other 15 chosen from community colleges and universities in the state complete their medical training, they agree to return to rural Mississippi to practice medicine. That’s not a problem for Reddick. Returning to his hometown of Waynesboro or another small community, he said is fine with him. 

“I came to Jones because of the small class size, their reputation of offering challenging classes and giving students the attention they need. And now, they (MRPSP) are giving me a chance to do what I want and I know I can pay for my education with this scholarship.” 
 
Family member’s influenced Reddick’s future. Being around cousins and an aunt with diabetes sparked an interest in endocrinology. 
 
“I want to do diabetes research, so it’s wonderful to be able to complete medical school with the help of this program. It pushes us to do well,” said Reddick.
 
The MRPSP was created by the Mississippi Legislature, in 2007 to increase the number of primary care physicians in rural or medically underserved areas of the state. Of the original 71 applicants this year, 28 were selected for preliminary interviews with the School of Medicine Admissions Committee at UMMC. 
 
The final 18 selected will all be approved for direct admissions when they apply to medical school at UMMC, if they maintain a high academic GPA. They will also receive a priceless experience helping to solve the doctor shortage in our state, according to Janie Guice, MRPSP’s Executive Director. “MRPSP will ‘grow our own’ primary care physicians by targeting students with rural roots.”
 
Students chosen for this scholarship training program will spend three or four years in residency training following medical school depending o their specialty.  For more information about the MRPSP program check out the web page at http://mrpsp.umc.edu.

 

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