The University of Pikeville’s Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine recently completed its annual Professional Education Preparation Program. 

The program, which has been in existence since 1980, allows a small group of high school students entering grade 11 or 12 to live on campus for one week and learn about careers in medicine. PEPP participants expand their awareness of how medicine is practiced in a rural setting while attending lectures, anatomical laboratory sessions and volunteering at a local hospital. 

For Alexia Hall from Prestonsburg High School, the hands-on activities offered in the anatomy and simulation lab allowed her to pursue her interest and establish a career path before beginning college. 

“I have always been interested in the medical field,” said Hall. “Both of my parents work in medicine, so it’s like home for me.” 

Bryson Sykes from Shelby Valley High School said gaining experience in the medical field and having a better understanding of what medical school entails is what drew him to the program. 

“I have learned so much more about what it takes to be a doctor and I can see a path to get there,” said Sykes. “I’ve learned what medical school would be like, how to apply and what the schedule will be like.”

Participants in the program included Alexia Hall from Prestonsburg High School; Hannah Edmonds from Pikeville High School; homeschooled student Michael Underwood; David Layne from Johnson Central High School; Jacob Boggs from Perry County Central High School; Markisha Collinsworth from Magoffin County High School; Pike County Central students Bryce Adkins, Evelyn Anderson, Gabriella Cooley, Sydnee Lowe, Kolby Newsome and Chloe Robinette; Phelps students Jason Casey and Ashton Reed; Shelby Valley students Nelonna Branham, Lindsey Stewart, Bryson Sykes, Madison Caudill, Camille Overley and Kalista Mitchell; as well as several students from other counties. 

For more information or to apply for PEPP, contact Michael Kennedy, KYCOM associate director of admissions and recruitment, at, or call, (606) 218-5257. 

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