The Health Sciences & Technology Academy

Nurturing the ambitions of talented students who, for economic or other reasons, might not ordinarily be able to achieve their career goals.

What is HSTA?

The Health Science & Technology Academy (HSTA) was founded in West Virginia in 1994 and started in the Eastern Panhandle in 2004. HSTA is a partnership among communities and numerous colleges and universities in the state of WV.

The program focuses on increasing the number of underrepresented students who pursue degrees in Health Sciences and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, with the long-term goal of increasing the number of health practitioners & advocates in the medical field locally.

How does it work?

Students apply, are selected and placed in a group of 10 at their high school, lead by a trained HSTA teacher. They meet weekly to work on group activities and individual projects. They must maintain their grades and attend at least two summer camps while in the program. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible for tuition waivers to a WV in-state public college. Additional tuition waivers are available to students who pursue master’s or doctorate’s in health care or STEM fields.

Who Participates?

Students are recruited as 8th graders for the program. Students need a minimum of a 2.5 GPA and should have an interest in healthcare or a STEM-related field. The four criteria for admissions are African-American, low-income, first-generation college student or resident of a rural area. Students need not meet all admissions criteria to apply or be accepted into the program.

HSTA Clubs

The grouping of 10 students, referred to as clubs consists of students in grades 9-12.

Program Requirement

Students must have a 2.5 GPA as a freshman, and a 3.0 GPA through the remainder of the program. They must also attend 70 % of the weekly club meetings, complete an annual science project, present their project at a yearly Science Symposium and complete 75 hours of community service prior to graduation.

College-Based Programming

Students attend at least 2 summer camps while in high school. The one-week camps provide intensive academic enrichment emphasizing math, science and laboratory experiences. The students work with scientists, clinical practitioners and health care professionals.

Currently, camps are held at West Virginia University, Marshall University, West Virginia State University and Glenville State College. Students work on a variety of activities including performing dissections of a sheep's eye, suturing a pig's foot, learning the lab skills necessary to solve a mock murder, and working on mock clinical trial components and hands-on investigations.

Community-Based Programming

Students meet weekly after school to work on academic enrichment projects. HSTA teachers help develop the students’ cognitive skills while emphasizing observation, hypothesis formation, experimentation, analysis and presentation. The students work on an annual science project that is geared towards community or health concerns and then present their findings at a symposium. Previous projects have included local water quality, diabetes and obesity.

State Tuition Waivers

Students who successfully complete the program requirements are eligible for an undergraduate tuition waiver to a WV public college. The tuition waiver amount varies between 50 – 90% of the cost of tuition at the schools.

A graduate tuition waiver is available to students who are accepted into eligible healthcare or STEM-related programs. Eligible programs include nursing, medical school and all fields of engineering. The monetary value of the tuition waiver, depending on the major, college and how many degrees are pursued, ranges in value between $40,000 - $80,000. 

How much does it cost students/families? $0

All activities including, supplies for the annual science projects, classroom activities, and attendance of summer camps (transportation, and room & board), are free to HSTA students. Students are also eligible to be reimbursed for two college entrance exams. (2 ACT’s or SAT’s or one of each.)

Parents' Responsibility

Parents are responsible for providing transportation for students after the weekly meetings and other HSTA sponsored events.

Colleges that honor the Tuition Waiver

  • West Virginia University
  • Shepherd University
  • Fairmont State University
  • Marshall University
  • West Virginia State University
  • Concord University
  • Glenville State University
  • Potomac State
  • Bluefield State College
  • West Liberty University
  • Alderson & Broaddus University
  • WVU Tech
  • Blue Ridge Community & Technical College

Program Graduates Statewide (as of 2014)

  • 681 Bachelors
  • 98 Masters
  • 48 Highest degrees in the field
  • 12 Medical Doctors
  • 2 Doctors of Osteopathy
  • 1 Dentist
  • 11 Pharmacists
  • 2 Audiologist
  • 1 Psychologist
  • 7 Physical Therapist
  • 6 Attorneys of law
  • 1 Optometrist
  • 1 Veterinarian
  • 59 Associates degree

Current Graduate & Professional school majors covered by HSTA Tuition waiver

West Virginia University

Dental Hygiene, Dentistry, Endodontics, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Medicine, Medical Residency, Nursing Graduate, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Public health, Economics, Animal & Nutritional Sciences, Plant & Soil Sciences, Genetics & Developmental Biology, Reproductive Physiology, Biology, Chemistry, Forensic & Investigative Science, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Statistics, Statistical & Data Sciences, Computer Statistics, Engineering (All Fields), Computer Science.

Marshall University

Athletic Training, Communications Disorders, Dietetics, Exercise Science, Health Information, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Sports Administration, Engineering, Environmental Science, Information System, Safety, Technology Management, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Criminal Justice, Mathematics, Physical and Applied Science.

Application Process & Deadline

The application deadline is March 1 of students' 8th-grade year. The updated application will be available after January 1 from a guidance counselor and at

David W. Shanton
Field Site Coordinator
Eastern Panhandle HSTA
Cell Phone: (304) 671-8282

West Virginia University
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center
Eastern Division
2500 Foundation Way
Martinsburg, WV 25401

Phone: (304) 596-6317
Fax: (304) 596-6317
FB: Eastern Panhandle Health Science and Technology Academy

Donate to HSTA Eastern Division