Four high school sophomores are vying to become students at Albany Medical College, though it will still take them a while to get there.
Albany Med, Siena College and the Shenendehowa Central School District on Wednesday announced the four finalists for the new “ShenNext Medicine: Selecting Tomorrow’s Doctors Today” program, which will award early acceptance each year to one Shenendehowa High School student into the colleges’ combined eight-year medical program.
The recipient will be announced in January, midway through the students’ junior year.
Until then, the four will take part in a mentoring program with Siena College students who are in the eight-year program and also will do enrichment activities at Albany Medical College.
The early selection is far from easy. In exchange for knowing a year before their classmates where they’re going to college, finalists must impress a panel of Siena students as well as Edward LaRow, director of the Siena program, and Dr. Vincent Verdile, dean of Albany Medical College.
The finalists are Ifeoluwa Adelugba, 16, daughter of Dare and Sade Adelugba of Clifton Park; Lauren Bausch, 16, daughter of Andrew and Jennifer Bausch of Clifton Park; Matthew Siniapkin, 15, son of John Siniapkin and Colleen Batson of Ballston Lake; and Nadia Suguitan, 15, daughter of Norman and Genevieve Suguitan of Ballston Lake.
They were chosen based on their passion for medicine, compassionate character, grades, leadership, communication skills and community service.
Officials believe the program is the first in the nation to accept a junior into a combined medical program. The accepted student still waits until after high school graduation to start. He or she will be awarded a $16,000-a-year scholarship to Siena for four years.
“These four students have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to study in a prestigious program on their way to reaching their dream of becoming a physician,” Shenendehowa Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson said in a statement. “This program is part of Shen’s ongoing effort to work with colleges and universities to provide more opportunities for our students.”
Robinson and James J. Barba, president and CEO of Albany Medical Center, came up with the idea for the program.