Mitchell’s Rose named top senior for Sanford School of Medicine scholarship
Thanks in part to her mother, Becky.
“She always worked at the hospital in Mitchell. She worked there for 20 years, and I was always there after school because she couldn’t take us home some days,” Rose said.
That early fascination with the goings on at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital has driven her down a road of tailoring her high school classes toward pursuing a degree in medicine. And she recently received an additional boost to that goal when she was named a recipient of the Sanford School of Medicine Alumni Scholarship.
Each year, the University of South Dakota selects four top high school seniors who have a well-developed interest in medicine and are dedicated to the mission of the USD medical school to join the Alumni Student Scholars Program. Specifically, the program seeks students interested in practicing primary care within South Dakota, according to the program website.
While the selection of scholars is based in part on good high school academic qualifications, the process also includes an assessment of the personal qualities required of a good physician, such as integrity, compassion, fairness with colleagues and a capacity for leadership. Candidates must be a senior from a South Dakota high school, have a combined score of 1,240 on the SAT or a score of 28 or higher on the ACT and submit a completed online academic scholarship application.
Her mother worked in an administrative role for Avera Queen of Peace, but Rose began to develop a particular interest in work that was being done elsewhere in the hospital.
“I was always interested in what was going on in the medical and procedural area, because she worked in administration,” Rose said. “So I started taking more classes — more that applied to medicine.”
So she found herself in multiple math and science courses, adding classes that would boost her standing for entering medical school and eventually, the medical field. She continued on that path throughout her high school career until she, like millions of others around the United States, found herself in the middle of a global pandemic.
And while she adjusted to social distancing, masks and the lack of public group activities, she did take some time to realize she was in the unique position of being a budding medical student in the middle of a medical emergency of a scope that hadn’t been seen in over 100 years.
“It’s been pretty much the same for me as it is for everyone else, accept I’ve been a little more interested in the pandemic. I did quite a bit of research, and one of my teachers, Mrs. (Julie) Olson in biology, actually made an entire new unit that we just went through about COVID-19 and how it affects the body and how the vaccines work,” Rose said. “That was really interesting. It just helps us understand about what’s going on in the world right now, and it only made my interest in medicine increase. The fact that I would be able to help so many people like this is extremely rewarding.”
Rose’s time at Mitchell High School will draw to a close with the end of the 2020-21 school year and graduation. She and her family are looking forward to the completion of this chapter of her academic career, with preparation already underway for the big day.
“We just recently made our graduation announcements and Mom is really excited about buying decorations for the party. I’m really just looking forward to finishing out my high school career. I might take some summer classes just to keep busy, and maybe look for a summer job,” Rose said.
Then it’s preparation for the move to college, in this case the University of South Dakota, where she has her first round of coursework planned out.
“I will go to USD in the fall, and I plan to double-major in mathematics and medical biology with a minor in Spanish. After those four years I’ll go to medical school,” Rose said. “But beyond that, I haven’t really considered what I will specialize in. I like the areas of family medicine. I’d be able to help a variety of people from birth to the elderly.”
And the scholarship program will help her on that path. Among the benefits of the scholarship program are eligibility for a Coyote Commitment Scholarship from the university, a $1,000 stipend provided by the Sanford School of Medicine with a waiver of the MCAT requirement, a $1,000 annual scholarship upon entering the Sanford School of Medicine that is renewable up to four years of medical school and eligibility for one $5,000 annual scholarship for up to four years of medical school.
The mix of a lifelong passion for learning about medicine, as well as an affinity for classroom work, has her looking forward to the next stage of her life and Vermillion. She knows it will be a pathway to her becoming a doctor, to helping people and preparing her for her future career.
“I’m probably most looking forward to learning more about medicine. I really like to learn. I always have, and I’ve always enjoyed school,” Rose said. “I think college will give me more knowledge and information I can use throughout my life. That’s what I’m really excited about.”