HSTA to celebrate 15th year

Program brings science and math to students in rural areas

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA) at West Virginia University will celebrate 15 years of outreach to high school students in rural areas with a reception to be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. July 23 at the WVU Erickson Alumni Center.

Created in 1994, HSTA is a community based 9th through 12th grade science and math program designed to encourage and promote higher education for students in rural areas.

“HSTA is an original program created by West Virginians for West Virginians,” Ann Chester, Ph.D., assistant vice president for social justice at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center and HSTA program director, said.

The goal of HSTA is to increase the number of African-American and other under-represented high school students in West Virginia who pursue higher education and to increase the number of health practitioners in medically underserved communities in West Virginia.

Students who complete the HSTA program and maintain a 3.0 grade point average earn a tuition waiver from any West Virginia state-run college. There are currently 800 high school students from 26 counties in the HSTA program.

“This gives students who may not otherwise attend college a chance to do so, and best of all this is something they have worked hard to accomplish and have earned,” Kas Kasten, HSTA transitions and records coordinator, said. “It is so incredible to see students who never thought they would be able to go to school, fulfill their dreams and become doctors, pharmacists, engineers and more.”

One such student, Crystal Hickman, M.D., a 1999 HSTA graduate, said, “I had never thought about being a doctor. HSTA introduced the idea and gave me the confidence that it was possible.”

The anniversary celebration will take place during HSTA’s Summer Institute camp, which ends July 24. Students attending the summer camp will have the opportunity to hear success stories from distinguished HSTA graduates. The keynote speaker will be Brian Noland, Ph.D., chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

Taylor J. Perry, Ed.D, interim diversity coordinator for the Berkeley County Board of Education and vice chair of the HSTA Joint Governing Board, will present two Appreciation for Dedication and Leadership Awards to Wallace Jones, current HSTA chairman, and Steve Starks, former HSTA chairman, who served from 1996 to 2008.

For information on HSTA see www.wv-hsta.org.



For more information:
Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
el: 07-15-09

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