Athens High School senior Claudia Henson was recently admitted to the Early Medical School Acceptance Program at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
Henson is one of 18 students accepted out of more than 400 applicants from around the world.
"I'm honestly over the moon. It's been a long process, and you know, it's taken years and years to kind of get to this point. So when it finally happens, it's a little shocking at first, but once it kind of sinks in it's just a great feeling to know that all that hard work paid off," Henson said.
The UAB EMSAP provides students with an enriched undergraduate experience in preparation for medical, dental, or optometry school.
The process for admission began in the fall for Henson.
"I think it was around November, we had to do a written application that was just answering some questions. We had to write a personal statement like the traditional med school admissions process, and we submitted a resume basically explaining what we had been involved in in high school," Henson said.
Then in February, the most challenging part for Henson began.
"I think it was the first week of February we got an email if we had made it into the interview process round," Henson said.
"I spent one day in mid-February, I think I was on the call for like five hours or so, doing virtual interviews, which consisted of both traditional interviews and what are called multiple mini interviews, which is basically kind of these quick, short answer questions that are really challenging. They really want to make you think; they want to see how you think," Henson said.
Claudia will be assured a spot in the UAB Heersink School of Medicine once she completes the required undergraduate coursework with a minimum 3.6 GPA and 506 MCAT score.
Henson is immensely thankful for the opportunity she has earned.
"I want to thank some of the teachers at Athens. Ms. Greenhaw, Ms. Reynolds, and Ms. Townsend introduced me to the program, and they've really just been there for me this whole time, and they've been a great support system," Henson said.
"I want to thank God for giving me this opportunity. Like, this is amazing, and I'm really blessed to be in the position that I'm in right now," Henson said. "And also the administrators at UAB for allowing me to have this opportunity, because this is a very competitive program and there's a lot of people that wish they could be in this position right now. So I just feel very blessed and very thankful."
ACS Career Coach Missy Greenhaw
"I am thrilled and so very proud of Claudia! She is such a dedicated and well-rounded student," Greenhaw said. "I had no doubt that once she made it to the interview stage with EMSAP she would wow them. Looking forward to seeing what special things she accomplishes in her career."
AHS Medical Academy Teacher Dana Reynolds
"I had the pleasure of teaching Claudia Henson in Foundations of Health Science and Human Body Structures in our Medical Academy at Athens High School. Claudia impressed me with her ability to grasp new concepts and terminology," Reynolds said. "Her academic performance was consistently above expectations."
She went on to say, "Claudia has always been attentive, willing to participate, and eager to learn. UAB is getting a great student, and I wish her the best."
STEM Certified Educator Alycia Townsend
"When Claudia applied for the Early Medical School Acceptance Program at UAB, I had no doubt that she would be accepted. She is very driven and knows exactly what she wants. She has a passion to study medicine," Townsend said. "She has worked hard to put herself in this great position by being a leader in our school and community and volunteering her time actually working in the medical field to be sure she knows what will be expected of her."
She went on to say, "I am so excited for her! She is an excellent ambassador for Athens."
City of Athens Grant Coordinator/Communications Specialist Holly Hollman
"Claudia is an enthusiastic member of our Youth Commission. I saw her shine when we visited Birdie Thornton Center and the Athens Activity Center. She laughed and had fun, and those around did as well," Hollman said.
Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks
"She has participated in community service projects that have supported Relay for Life, food distribution to those in need, and a sock drive for United Way's Ukraine project," Marks said. "Claudia has embraced getting involved in our program and the community. We are proud of her for receiving early admission at UAB."
Director of Bands Ty Parker
"The Golden Eagle Marching Band and I are so proud of our Drum Major, Claudia Henson! Her leadership skills will definitely be an asset to UAB's medical school," Parker said.
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