First student signs up for rural health program

Published 10:11 pm Thursday, July 21, 2016

By Samantha Bolden | The Selma Times-Journal

The University of Alabama’s Rural Health Scholars program has garnered interest from a Selma student hoping to be a part of its health program.

Selma High School twelfth grade student Kyla Tolbert expressed interest in learning more about the program after reading an article from last month about the health scholars program. Tolbert is the first Selma student to apply for the program.

“It’s a better opportunity for me to get my education, and it could help me improve my GPA, which is a 3.7,” Tolbert said. “I just want to better my life academic wise.”

Tolbert’s favorite subjects in school include English and chemistry, with the latter being her overall favorite. Her extracurricular activities include being on the Saintsations Dance Line, The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), and a member of Sr. Culturama.

Dr. John R. Wheat, professor and director of the Rural Scholars Program, said that he and his assistant, Cynthia Moore, visited Tolbert and her family on Monday for a luncheon at The St. James Hotel to discuss the program and its requirements as well as her future goals. As a five-week summer program, the Rural Health Scholars Program gives students the chance to experience the college life. Students will live on campus, take two college courses for credit, participate in seminars and field trips, and receive orientation about health careers.

The program was founded to encourage high school students to consider careers in medicine and health professions.

Wheat said that it’s important for students to apply for the program because children from rural areas will most likely become a physician back home.

“We’re not trying to produce elite kids,” Wheat said. “We’re trying to help communities raise their own young doctors.”

Councilwoman Susan Keith said that it’s very important for students to apply because it’s attainable.

“It’s important for students to be able to reach their full potential,” Keith said. “They don’t need to give up on their dreams of becoming a doctor just because of where they live or a medical professional.”

The program is currently accepting applications for those interested in applying.

The requirements to qualify for the program are as follows:

* Be a rising high school senior

* Be a resident of rural Alabama for at least six years

* Have a B average or 3.0 GPA

* Have taken the ACT (minimum score of 21) or SAT (minimum score of 1000)

* Have an interest in health care with a desire to return to rural Alabama

* Submit two (2) letters of recommendation: one from the school’s guidance counselor and one from a teacher

* Submit transcript that includes ACT and/or SAT score

* Submit a statement of interest

* Meet the University of Alabama admissions criteria

For more information regarding the program, contact Wheat at (205) 348-1300.