For the past month, 48 area high school students were immersed in the Summer Scholars program at the UMKC School of Medicine that many hope will be a springboard to their future as healthcare professionals. Summer Scholars celebrated its 35th class on July 31 with an annual awards luncheon and forum at Kansas City’s Guadalupe Center.
Summer Scholars takes place each July offering basic science enrichment, exposure to various aspects of the health care field, interviewing and personal development skills, and preparing to apply to a medical school. It also provides the students the opportunity to interact with medical students and professionals.
The program is made up largely of high school juniors and seniors and includes a group of Advanced Summer Scholars, attendees returning for a second session. This year’s program welcomed 36 Summer Scholars and 12 Advanced Summer Scholars.
As part of the awards ceremony and forum, students gave brief presentations of what they learned throughout the program and what they will take away from their month-long venture when they return to high school. Each student was also presented with an inspirational book and a certificate recognizing their efforts in completing the program.
The event also included presentations from UMKC representatives on various topics dealing with attending college, obtaining financial aid and multicultural resources at UMKC.
The Summer Scholars began in 1980 when former School of Medicine Assistant Dean for Minority Affairs Reaner Shannon, Ph.D., began an exploratory experience to encourage area high school students from underserved and minority backgrounds to consider health care fields. Nearly 5 percent of those who attend Summer Scholars go on to attend the UMKC School of Medicine, while a larger number will enter other health care fields, said program coordinator Kenneth Beene.