Four MSU students accepted into Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program

Four Mississippi State University students have been accepted into the Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program. They include, from left to right, Rebecca Sheffield of New Albany, Bradley Stokes of Madison, Shelby Turner of Sallis and Joshua Cochran of Lucedale. (Photo submitted)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Four Mississippi State University students each are receiving a four-year, $140,000 Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship to the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Dentistry.

The new scholars represent MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences and its Department of Biological Sciences, and the College of Business and its Department of Management and Information Systems.

They include (by hometown):

LUCEDALE—Joshua S. Cochran, a junior biological sciences/pre-dental major.

MADISON—Bradley B. Stokes, a junior management major.

NEW ALBANY—Rebecca E. Sheffield, a junior biological sciences/pre-dental major.

SALLIS—Shelby R. Turner, a senior biological sciences/pre-optometry major.

Created in 2013 by the Mississippi Legislature, the program is providing nine dental students with scholarships to support their education. Each scholar may receive $35,000 per year based on available funding. Additional benefits include personalized mentoring from practicing rural dentists and academic support.

Scholars have demonstrated the necessary commitment and academic achievement to become competent, well-trained rural pediatric or general dentists in the Magnolia State.

After completing dental school, MRDSP scholars must work full time for at least four years in general or pediatric dentistry at a program-approved, clinic-based practice in one of the state’s rural or medically underserved communities.

“The Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program and Mississippi State University share a common commitment to improving the lives of people in this state,” said Rick Travis, dean of MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences. “We are honored that MSU has played a role in preparing these students for the practice of dentistry in underserved areas of Mississippi.” 

MSU’s Dr. A. Randle and Marilyn W. White Health Professions Resource Center works with the Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program to ensure MSU students are well-prepared for dental school. 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

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