The West Virginia Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA), a statewide partnership among educators, community leaders, health professionals and colleges, is one of five winners of the 2010 Outreach Scholarship W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award.

The award will be presented during the National Outreach Scholarship Conference in October in Raleigh, N.C. Winners each receive a prize of $6,000 and qualify to compete for the 2010 C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award presented annually by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

“We are extremely pleased with this honor,” said WVU President James P. Clements. “HSTA empowers youth in our state to pursue their dream of a college degree and opens the door for many exciting career opportunities. What’s more, this program is grounded in community and campus engagement—the heart of a land-grant institution’s mission. I want to thank Dr. Ann Chester for her leadership of this important partnership and everyone around the state who has supported this program over the years.”

The awards recognize four-year public universities that have redesigned their learning, discovery and engagement functions to become more sympathetically and productively involved with their communities. Other winners are Indiana University-Purdue University—Indianapolis, Lincoln University, North Carolina State University and the University of Idaho.

“These projects exemplify the outreach and engagement commitment of public universities,” said Peter McPherson, president of APLU. “We salute each of these model engagement programs which feature students, faculty and administrators working in their community to improve the quality of life for all.”

HSTA reaches about 800 students annually in grades 9-12 and prepares them for college and professional school in careers in health, science, math, and technology. The program brings students and their teachers to campuses across West Virginia each summer for laboratory and classroom training and enrichment activities, and then provides the infrastructure and support for community-based science projects mentored by teachers and community leaders during the school year.
“This award is recognition that people all over West Virginia have made the effort to create avenues to achievement for young people,” said Chester, who is assistant vice president for social justice at West Virginia University’s Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center. “The HSTA Program is designed and operated by local volunteers with assistance from WVU and several other West Virginia colleges and universities. Our success is due almost entirely to their work – and it is a testament to what can result when a University engages with people and communities on a sustained basis. The proof is in the people – more than 97 percent of our 1275 graduates have gone on to college.”
Chester said many of the community and school participants, like Wallace Jones of Rainelle, now serving as chair of the HSTA Joint Governing Board, have been involved in the program for a decade or more.

“Our goal – and their goal – is to increase the college-going rate among under-represented students in the Appalachian region, to improve science and math education, to empower communities through leadership development of their youth, and ultimately, to increase the number of health care providers, scientists and science educators in West Virginia’s under-served communities,” she said.

The Magrath Award, made possible by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is named for C. Peter Magrath, APLU president from 1992-2005, and WVU’s interim president in 2008-2009. Dr. Magrath is a leading advocate for public universities embracing the concept of outreach and community engagement.

“WVU is dear to my heart, having served this remarkable land-grant university and growing to love its programs and its people,” said Magrath. “During my time there it was obvious to me that WVU deeply embraces outreach and community engagement, and HSTA underscores that commitment by preparing talented minority and underrepresented high school students for college and professional school. I congratulate all those involved with this successful program.”

For More Information: Paul F. Hassen, APLU, 202-478-6073 or
HSTA video:


CONTACT: Kim Fetty, HSC News Service