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Wingate awarded $9,700 grant for Early Scholars Program

by Luanne Williams

Wingate University’s Hendersonville campus has been awarded a $9,700 grant by the Community Foundation of Henderson County to help equip high school students with the necessary tools and knowledge to pursue a career in pharmacy.

A PA professor gives a demonstration for high school students.

Designed to target underserved minorities in area public schools, the Wingate University-Hendersonville Early Scholars Program will invite 20 ninth- and 10th-graders who have expressed interest in healthcare and put them on a path to achieve their goals. The scholars will be welcomed with a white coat ceremony at the beginning of the spring semester and will meet monthly for sessions that cover topics related to healthcare and professionalism.

Wingate University faculty mentors will challenge the future healthcare professionals with reflection assignments and offer shadowing opportunities so that participating students get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to become a pharmacist. A collaboration with Henderson County Public Schools, the program will also support the school system’s STEM initiatives. The program will culminate with an awards ceremony.

“The Early Scholars Program will educate the students to understand that pharmacy is far more than working in retail -- at CVS or Walgreens -- but rather it includes a vast selection of opportunities such as careers in hospital, nuclear, or even veterinary pharmacy,” said Barbara Burke, regional director of external affairs for WU-Hendersonville. “This is an exciting chance for students to immerse themselves in the world of pharmacy.”

A pharmacy professor gives a demonstration to a high school student.

McCray Benson, president of the Community Foundation, said his organization is pleased to partner with Wingate.

“Providing area high school students with the knowledge and tools that encourage pursuit of a career in the healthcare field, especially those in pharmacy, is a great way to offer hope and ensure that future generations have pathways to new opportunities,” Benson said.

Ultimately, the goal of the program is to produce more quality healthcare professionals for the region.

“Wingate is committed to recruiting students from western North Carolina and positively impacting the local workforce,” said Kurt Wargo, regional dean of the School of Pharmacy. “Nearly 70 percent of our graduates stay in the region to live and work.”

In addition to its doctor of pharmacy program, Wingate’s Hendersonville campus offers a master’s degree in physician assistant studies. The University is dedicated to being a leader in healthcare education.

Already, at its Hendersonville campus, Wingate University offers several Health Sciences career camps for high school students throughout the summer.

Nov. 1, 2019

  • Hendersonville