By Gabrielle Owens
The Youngstown State University Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program and YSU BaccMed Program offer incoming and current students pursuing a major in science, technology, mathematics or medicine the opportunity to receive hands-on experience before entering the workforce.
Emilie Brown, coordinator of STEMM and outreach scholarships, said the Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program (COFSP) supports and prepares students for a career in the STEMM fields.
“Basically, we are recruiting more students into STEMM fields and supporting them through their time in college to make sure they graduate and also encourage them to stay in Ohio to work,” she said.
Brown said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted was a part of writing the legislation that created the COFSP, which started to support students at YSU in 2008.
The funding for the COFSP is provided by the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
“Ohio universities compete every four to five years for a portion of the money that the state appropriates, and YSU has been receiving the Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program since fall 2008,” she said.
In order for students to apply for the scholarship program, they must be an Ohio resident majoring in STEMM, nursing or integrated math and science education. Also, they must obtain a 3.0 GPA and be active in program activities.
“Students can receive funding for four to five years of their undergraduate education as long as they meet the scholarship criteria,” Brown said.
According to Brown, the COFSP has a 90% graduation rate for students participating in the program.
“The main goal of the program is to help students get through academically and to provide them with everything they need. So, when they graduate, they can get into the graduate school of their choice or the job they want,” she said.
Students accepted in the COFSP receive a $4,000 scholarship each year, which can be renewable up to four years.
The YSU BaccMed Program is an accelerated premedical program for students pursuing a major in biochemistry or biology and seeking a career as a primary care physician. It offers early assurance attachment with both Northeast Ohio Medical University and The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
YSU has partnered with NEOMED since the 1970s and recently partnered with LECOM in 2018, which allows students the opportunity to choose between both medical programs, according to Brett Kengor, YSU BaccMed admissions coordinator.
“Our main draw for students is the accelerated possibilities with both our partners. So if a student already knows if they want to attend LECOM or NEOMED, they can have their saved early assurance seat before they come on campus as a freshman,” she said.
Kengor said since 2008, the YSU BaccMed program improved students’ graduation and acceptance rates into medical school.
“Dr. Stephen Rodabaugh and Dr. Diana Fagan— who are the liaison officer and the faculty coordinator—changed the curriculum and since then the matriculation has increased from 50% range to the 80-90% range for students that complete their degree and move on into medical school,” she said.
In order to apply to the YSU BaccMed program, students must major in biology or biochemistry, obtain a 3.5 GPA and have an interest in medicine.
Kengor said she advises prospective students to apply for general admission before submitting an application to the specialty program. She also advises students to visit both LECOM and NEOMED so they can choose which college is a good fit for their career path.
“We do require references and we prefer two math or science teachers to talk about their preparation in academics,” she said. “Also, we like to see students either shadowed a physician or have a total of their community service hours so we can make sure they are involved in their community and are academically prepared for a rigorous accelerated curriculum.”
Students interested in applying for the Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program can contact Emilie Brown at email@example.com. Those interested in applying for the YSU BaccMed program can contact Brett Kengor at firstname.lastname@example.org.