Caitlin Beach, Jackson Gilbert, and Kelsey Napier of Madison Central High School attended a highly competitive and very strenuous four and half week academic residential program at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center from June 14 to July 15. This Professional Education Preparation Program (PEPP) Scholar class’s average GPA was 3.98, with average overall ACT score of 28.1 and an average Science ACT score of 27.4.
Caitlin, Jackson, and Kelsey were among 34 incoming college students attending PEPP. This program is designed to prepare students for the admissions process for medical or dental school, as well as a successful career in undergrad. Students are selected based on a record of academic excellence, outstanding standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, and a personal statement of “Why I want to be a Physician or Dentist?” The majority of students chosen to participate in PEPP Scholars are from areas of the Commonwealth with health professional shortages.
PEPP Scholars hopes to address the needs of rural areas by preparing students from underserved communities for the demands of the highly competitive health professions admissions exams, as well as the challenges of an undergrad curriculum. Students attend seminars and courses designed to provide a foundation in the sciences and an understanding of many critical issues in the healthcare field. They also learn about many areas of healthcare through hospital rotations in Labor and Delivery and Operating Room at the UK Medical Center. Participants also receive many dental experiences such as learning how to drill and fill on teeth, take impressions, as well as shadowing opportunities in the Dental Urgent Care Clinic and Oral Surgery department.
PEPP Scholars participated in many community outreach experiences and mentor activities, such as working with special needs camps, holding bingo events at surrounding nursing homes, hosting parties for the patients out at Eastern State Hospital, and working with elementary schools by teaching mini-lessons on health and dental related programs. They also put together a clothing drive for the elementary school to help restock their resource office. On top of all this, they put together multiple fundraisers from spaghetti dinners and bake sales to henna tattoos, for a non-profit mission that is close to PEPP’s heart, Finding Freedom through Friendship. They raised over $400 on their own! These students had the opportunity to touch over 350 individuals through their volunteer efforts by bringing knowledge, joy, food, clothing, and most of all, being a friend to these individuals. In addition to volunteering, many joined Be the Match Foundation, the Kentucky Organ Donor Association, and gave blood to the Kentucky Blood Center to help better someone else’s life.