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New Honors Program Puts Scholars On Path to Medical School

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CONTACT: Ron Hartung
(850) 645-9205

By Ron Hartung
Sept. 29, 2009

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Three students who have been accepted into The Florida State University College of

Dr. Myra Hurt

Dr. Myra Hurt

Dr. Robert Campbell

Dr. Robert Campbell

Medicine’s Class of 2014 are the first ever admitted through a unique FSU honors program that targets talented high-school students interested in careers in medicine and nurtures them through their undergraduate years.

They are Keerti Dantuluri, 21, of Palm Harbor, majoring in biological science and Spanish; Joseph Hernandez, 21, of Fort Myers, majoring in biological science; and Judy Lin, 20, of Tallahassee, majoring in biochemistry and on track to earn her bachelor’s degree after just three years.

They were recruited out of high school for the Honors Medical Scholars Program, which opens the door for early admission to the College of Medicine and makes it possible in some cases to earn a bachelor’s and a medical degree in seven years.

“Through their talent and perseverance, these students are fulfilling the hopes we had when we started this program,” said Myra Hurt, the College of Medicine’s senior associate dean for research and graduate programs. She created the program in conjunction with FSU's Honors Program and hopes it will continue to attract top-notch students committed to the college’s mission: providing health care that is patient-centered and responsive to community needs.

In order to apply to this highly competitive program, graduating high-school seniors must first be admitted to FSU and its Honors Program. Interested applicants must apply for fall 2010 undergraduate admission to FSU by Oct. 14 to be considered. For more information, visit

“We want the brightest students that FSU has to offer,” said Rob Campbell, the College of Medicine’s assistant dean for student affairs, who oversees the program. “In our selection process, though, we also look at service. We put a very strong emphasis on our mission. It’s exciting how many of these students want to do either rural or underserved patient care.”

Last year the Honors Medical Scholars did 10 community-service projects, including a medical mission trip to Peru, Campbell said.

The program now has 31 students, many from the Panhandle. The number of applications has soared from six in the first year to more than 80 last year. Those who are accepted into the Honors Medical Scholars Program aren’t guaranteed they’ll get into medical school. They need an overall GPA of at least 3.5 and a score of at least 26 on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), among other requirements.

As undergraduates, they take part in the Honors Medical Scholars Seminar and a mentorship program, take premed prerequisites and participate in premed organizations and medical/community volunteer activities.

“We prepare them to be able to go to any med school and apply,” Campbell said. “But we want them to come here, of course.”