MSU students, graduates accepted into Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program

New Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program participants from Mississippi State University include (front row, left to right) Kenya Williams, Taylor Ann Bailey, Danielle Wolfe, Jenna Hull and Amelia Kundel; (back row, left to right) Emilio Luna-Suarez, Hallie Murtagh Rutledge and Marianna Tollison. Not pictured is Katelyn Jackson. (Photo submitted)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Six current students and three Mississippi State University graduates will receive $30,000 per year to attend medical school as part of the prestigious Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program.

MRPSP scholarships are awarded after the students complete the pre-matriculation portion of the program, created in 2007 by the Mississippi Legislature. Awards are based on available funding.

Representing the College of Arts and Sciences and its Department of Biological Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and its School of Human Sciences, and College of Education and its Department of Kinesiology, scholars selected from MSU include (by hometown):

CLEVELAND—Taylor Ann Bailey, a senior human development and family science/child development major.

EBENEZER—Hallie R. Murtagh Rutledge, a junior biological sciences/pre-medicine major.

GREENVILLE—Kenya L. Williams, a junior biological sciences/pre-medicine major.

GREENWOOD—Amelia R. Kundel, a December 2017 agricultural life sciences/biochemistry graduate; and Marianna L. Tollison, a May 2017 magna cum laude biological sciences/pre-medicine graduate.

HAMILTON—Jenna M. Hull, a junior biological sciences major.

PHILADELPHIA—Emilio M. Luna-Suarez, a May 2018 summa cum laude kinesiology/clinical exercise physiology graduate of MSU-Meridian.

RICHLAND—Danielle Wolfe, a junior biological sciences/pre-medicine major.

STARKVILLE—Katelyn Jackson, a senior biological sciences/pre-medicine major.

“As I’ve said many times, a Mississippi State education can take you anywhere you want to go, and an increasing number of our graduates are choosing medical school to continue their education and to pursue their professional aspirations,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum.

“Their success is a credit to our outstanding faculty and academic programs, and the many research and service opportunities we offer undergraduates,” he said.

In addition to undergraduate academic enrichment and support, MRPSP provides clinical experience and mentoring from practicing physicians. Students who complete all medical school requirements can be admitted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center or William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Upon completion of medical training, MRPSP scholars enter a residency program in one of five primary care specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, medicine-pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, or pediatrics. Four years of service in a clinic-based practice in a program-approved, rural Mississippi community also is required.

Wahnee Sherman, MRPSP executive director, said the program addresses the state’s health care crisis by “reducing the high physician shortage rates, specifically in rural areas.”

“While our physician population continues to age, MRPSP’s success is evident as it identifies college students who demonstrate the necessary commitment and academic achievement to become competent, well-trained rural primary care physicians,” she said.

Consistent legislative support of MRPSP translates to 60 medical students receiving a total of $1.8 million to support their education this fall.

The College of Arts and Sciences’ Dr. A. Randle and Marilyn W. White Pre-Med Advisory Office at MSU guides students in any academic major through the medical school application process. Located in Harned Hall, Room 116, the office is named for the Greenwood nephrologist and his wife whose support helped make it a reality in 2016. Learn more at and

For more information on MRPSP, visit or contact Dan Coleman, associate director, at 601-815-9022 or