The Rural Medical & Science Scholars program aims to help rising high school seniors determine if they want to pursue health-related careers. The program shapes students’ interest in and understanding of medicine, health-related disciplines, and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The program combines didactic, observational, and practical learning during a summer semester. Participants earn seven college credits to jumpstart a health or STEM career. We report on descriptive statistics since the program’s inception in 1998. The program has matriculated 401 students, of whom approximately 71% have chosen health-related careers in nursing, physical or occupational therapy, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, or medical research. Others are pursuing science-based careers in chemical, biological, or mechanical engineering; information technology; and science-based educational fields. The scholars learn independence and soft skills such as time management, study skills, effective communication, relationship-building skills, and critical thinking. These skills will benefit them in their academic and professional careers. The program has been successful in promoting medical and STEM-related fields while, at the same time, helping to fill the gap for health-care and public-health leaders in Mississippi.


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