Marshall University announces newest class for accelerated B.S./M.D. program

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. Marshall University and its Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine have selected 10 high school seniors from across West Virginia as the newest class of students for the accelerated B.S./M.D. program.

The program was established in 2015 as a pathway for high-performing West Virginia students to finish both their Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine degrees in seven years. The new class joins 20 B.S./M.D. students currently in medical school and 28 students in the undergraduate portion of the curriculum.

The following students have been accepted into the program and will begin their undergraduate coursework at Marshall this fall.

  • Bailey Baker – Lincoln County High School (Lincoln County)
  • Sarah Eaglen – Morgantown High School (Monongalia County)
  • Zoya Khalid – George Washington High School (Kanawha County)
  • Sophia McMillion – Robert C. Byrd High School (Harrison County)
  • Gavin Nease – Cabell Midland High School (Cabell County)
  • Wade Ritchie – Richwood High School (Nicholas County)
  • Darshan Sangani – George Washington High School (Kanawha County)
  • Emma Sitler – George Washington High School (Kanawha County)
  • Sidney Strause – Wood County Christian School (Wood County)
  • Cassidy Woodrum – Huntington High School (Cabell County)

About 90% of the cohort reported that they held part-time jobs during high school. In fact, several have held more than one job. In addition to working outside of school, many are student leaders, athletes and community volunteers.

“We have a unique group of hard-working students,” said Jennifer T. Plymale, associate dean of admissions for the School of Medicine. “They have learned to balance all of these responsibilities while maintaining academic excellence—a skill that will serve them well in medical school and in the practice of medicine.”

Students begin the application process the summer prior to their senior year of high school. The program is open to West Virginia high school students who achieve a minimum ACT composite score of 30 (or equivalent SAT) and an ACT math score of 27 (or equivalent SAT), as well as a cumulative GPA of 3.75 on a 4.0 scale. Other criteria include three letters of recommendation and an on-campus interview. 

Students who successfully complete the undergraduate program requirements will matriculate directly into medical school.  They are not required to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).  Additionally, the students will receive a tuition waiver for the medical school portion of the program.

“Deciding to be a physician at this point in history means to have the courage to stand in the face of danger and the unknown as well as to have hope for a future where we can make a difference for others,“ said Strause, a senior at Wood County Christian School in Williamstown, West Virginia, who will enter the program this fall. “I knew I wanted to be a doctor when I started volunteering at my local hospital in 10th grade. The more aware I became of people in need of medical treatment, the more my heart ached to help them, and watching doctors work in the hospital was inspirational—I wanted to be able to help in the same way.”

Plymale said the program is just one of the ways Marshall University is working to keep talented, bright students in West Virginia. For more information about the program, visit


Media Contact: Sheanna M. Spence, Director of External Affairs, School of Medicine, 304-691-1639 

Date Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2020