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.