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Successful WVU STEM Mentoring Program Heads to Alabama

Clark Davis
Students participating in a HSTA lecture in West Virginia. The program is now expanding to Alabama.

The West Virginian Health Sciences and Technology Academy, known as HSTA, is a mentoring program housed at West Virginia University. It helps participating students succeed in science, technology, engineering and math-based undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Now, that program is going on the road. The University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing in Tuscaloosa, Alabama has received a $1.2 million Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health to set up a HSTA program there over the next five years.

This is the first full-scale Health Sciences and Technology Academy outside of West Virginia.

The Alabama program will serve primarily rural, low-income African American high-schoolers.

Of the 3,000 young people who have graduated from West Virginia’s HSTA program, 99 percent have gone on to college, 89 percent have obtained a college degree, 84 percent continue to live and work in West Virginia, and they earn, on average, $30,000 more per year than their highest-earning parent.

Robin Bartlett, associate dean for research at the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing, will lead the team in establishing the nursing-focused pilot program in Alabama’s Hale and Pickens counties.

In speaking to the importance of HSTA-AL, Bartlett said, “Our state is in dire need of more nurses, particularly nurse scientists, nurse faculty, and registered nurses from rural areas and diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. To change this dynamic, we must encourage students from underrepresented populations to enter the field of nursing before they graduate from high school. We will build on WV HSTA’s successes, opening Alabama high school students up to the possibilities of a biomedical career, especially a career in nursing.”

News Director, edouglas@wvpublic.org, 304-556-4946, @AppalachiaEric

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