Above: Top row, left to right: Abbie Culicerto, Alexandria Chapman, Cassidy Griffey, Isabella Gharib, and Jacob Wriston; Bottom row, left to right: Olivia Noel, Brooke Ooten, Brooklyn Johnson, Emily Akers, and Stephanie O’Palko. (Marshall University)

Marshall University and its Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine selected 10 high school seniors from across West Virginia as the newest class of students for the B.S./M.D. program.

The program was established in 2015 as a pathway for high-performing West Virginia students to finish both their Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine degrees in seven years. The new class joins 34 B.S./M.D. students currently in medical school and 28 students in the undergraduate portion of the curriculum.

The following students have been accepted into the program and will begin their undergraduate coursework at Marshall this fall.

  • Emily Akers – Cabell Midland High School (Cabell County)
  • Alexandria Chapman  – Cabell Midland High School (Cabell County)
  • Abbie Culicerto – Shady Spring High School (Raleigh County)
  • Isabella Gharib – Capital High School (Kanawha County)
  • Cassidy Griffey – Tug Valley High School (Mingo County)
  • Brooklyn Johnson – Cabell Midland High School (Cabell County)
  • Olivia Noel – Hurricane High School (Putnam County)
  • Brooke Ooten – Logan High School (Logan County)
  • Stephanie O’Palko – Morgantown High School (Monongalia County)
  • Jacob Wriston – Liberty High School (Raleigh County)

Students in the newest class are from throughout West Virginia. They are athletes, student leaders and volunteers in their community while also excelling in their academic studies.

“This class is composed of a unique group of hard-working students,” said Jennifer T. Plymale, associate dean of admissions for the School of Medicine. “This year has been most challenging, yet these exceptional students were able to maintain focus and their commitment to a career of service in medicine. They have experienced virtual and remote school and interruptions in their academics while maintaining academic excellence—all skills that will serve them well in medical school and in the practice of medicine.”

Students begin the application process the summer prior to their senior year of high school. The program is open to West Virginia high school students who achieve a minimum composite score of ACT 30/SAT 1390 and a math score of ACT 27/SAT 630, as well as a cumulative GPA of 3.75 on a 4.0 scale. Other criteria include three letters of recommendation and interviews. Students who successfully complete the undergraduate program requirements will matriculate directly into medical school. They are not required to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Additionally, the students receive a tuition waiver for the medical school portion of the program.

“I am humbled and grateful to be chosen for such a wonderful medical program, alongside nine other amazing students,” said Jacob Wriston, valedictorian at Liberty High School in Glen Daniel, West Virginia, and a nationally registered emergency medical technician. “Working with my local fire department has shown me that many rural areas still don’t have quick access to medical treatment. This program will help me become an emergency medicine physician, with the goal of serving communities in West Virginia in need of care.”

The first class of B.S./M.D. students is set to earn their Doctor of Medicine degrees in May. Plymale said the program is just one of the ways Marshall University is working to keep talented, bright students in West Virginia. Another pathway for students attending Marshall University interested in pursuing a degree in medicine is the M.D. Early Assurance Program.

From Marshall University News