The Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA): Providing 26 years of Academic and Social Support to Appalachian Youth in West Virginia

Published:2020, Journal of STEM Outreach
a. Chester, A., McKendall, S., McKendall, A., Mann, M., Kristjansson, A., Branch, R., Hornbeck, B., Morton, C., Kuhn, S., Smith-Branch, F., and Barnes-Rowland, C. (2020). The Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA): Providing 26 years of Academic and Social Support to Appalachian Youth in West Virginia. Journal of STEM Outreach, 3(3), 1-14.
Authors:Chester, A., McKendall, S., McKendall, A., Mann, M., Kristjansson, A., Branch, R., Hornbeck, B., Morton, C., Kuhn, S., Smith Branch, F., & Barnes-Rowland, C.
Type:Article
Keywords:

out-of-school-time programs, science mentoring, high school, underrepresented, community owned, health literacy, STEM workforce

View Publication https://www.jstemoutreach.org/article/17703-the-health-sciences-and-technology-academy-hsta-providing-26-years-of-academic-and-social-support-to-appalachian-youth-in-west-virginia

Abstract

The Health Sciences and Technology Academy’s, (HSTA) goals are to increase college attendance of
African American, financially disadvantaged, first generation college and rural Appalachian youth and increase health-care
providers and STEM professionals in underserved communities. Students enter in the 9th grade and remain in HSTA four
years. They engage in a rigorous academic program within the nurturing environment of small after-school clubs punctuated
by yearly summer camps on multiple college campuses. A distinctive piece of HSTA is its students’ development of research
projects under the mentorship of teachers and researchers that examine and address health issues faced by their communities.
The projects help HSTA students to understand the health dynamics in their local community, transforming them into
community advocates who address health and social issues at home as they prepare to move on to college and beyond. Substantial
in-state tuition waivers inspire 99% of the 3,021 HSTA graduates to attend college versus 56% of WV high school
graduates. Approximately 85% of matriculating HSTA students graduate with a four-year degree or higher versus less than
50% of all college entrants. To date, 57% of HSTA students go into health and other STEM majors, much higher than the
state and national figures.