Peggy Abels
director of Health Science Programs, 308.865.8260 or

UNK- The University of Nebraska at Kearney today announced the names of the first class of students selected for the Kearney Health Opportunities Program (KHOP).

“This program represents a commitment and dedication to the education of Nebraskans, and quality health care for citizens of the state,” said Peggy Abels, UNK director of Health Science Programs. These students will begin the UNK pre-med program in the fall of 2010.

KHOP, a cooperative program between UNK and the College of Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), is designed to recruit and educate rural Nebraska students who are committed to returning to rural Nebraska as physicians to practice medicine.

According to Abels, the program was created in response to a looming shortage of physicians for rural Nebraska.

Students selected for this program receive a full tuition scholarship at UNK and guaranteed admission to the College of Medicine at UNMC upon satisfactory completion of the requirements.

“Five students were selected for the program from a very talented and competitive applicant pool of over 50 students,” Abels said.  Five alternates were also chosen from the pool.

“The administrators of the program from both UNK and UNMC were very impressed with the quality of the applicants, recognizing that these students are truly some of Nebraska’s best and brightest students,” Abels said.

The recipients for 2010, listed alphabetically by hometown, include:

Dorchester – Adam Kahle
Elm Creek – Derek Marshall
Kearney – Abby Reise
Kearney – Mary Ann Pelc
North Platte – Rick Poppe

Alternates, also listed alphabetically by hometown, include:

Aurora  – Kiley Dibbern
Kearney – Shelby Maloley
North Loup – Brittany Brown
North Platte – Danae Schufeldt
St. Paul – Travis Buchanan