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Central Illinois Teens Complete SIU Physician Prep Program

Published Date:
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois - Sixteen central Illinois-area high school students are better prepared to become physicians after graduating from the Physician Pipeline Preparatory Program (P4), a four-year program sponsored by Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield Public Schools (SPS) and the Sangamon County Medical Society. The P4 graduation was held in the South Auditorium at SIU’s main instructional building, 801 N. Rutledge St. on February 14.
[Editor: See the list of graduating students below.]
The Pipeline Program, established in 2009, was designed to encourage local students in grades 9-12 who are interested in becoming doctors. Students are presented with case studies, laboratory experiences, guest speakers and research projects. Now in its 10th year, the program also provides leadership training and academic support, which includes sessions in math, science, communication, test-taking and verbal reasoning.
“It has been exciting to see the growing interest and effort of these students during their time in the pipeline program,” said Wesley McNeese, MD, director of diversity initiatives for the SIU System and director of the program. “If what they have shown in the past four years is any indication, they have what it takes to become excellent physicians and productive citizens.”
“We are proud of the P4 students for accomplishing great things and finishing this rigorous program,” said Jennifer Gill, superintendent of Springfield Public Schools District 186. “Their passion for serving others will make a difference in the lives of individuals in this community and other communities beyond Springfield.”
Each year, freshmen from the local area are selected by a committee of members from SIU, the Sangamon County Medical Society and Springfield Public Schools. Students submit letters of recommendation, a personal statement and a summary of volunteer, school and community activities, all of which need to reflect superior academic performance, high levels of motivation and a sincere interest in pursuing medical careers. SIU’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will begin accepting applications for the next class in August. The program will begin in late fall. For more information about the P4 program, visit, or contact Dr. Wendi El-Amin at SIU at 217-545-5665, or Nalo Mitchell at SPS at 217-525-3047.
  • Zyaun Dent, daughter of Chandra Pierson-Rye and Andre Rye, is a senior at Southeast High School.
  • Nexci Drake, daughter of Michelette Thompson and Ernestus Drake, is a senior at Southeast High School.
  • Jesse Harris, son of Nina and Jesse Harris III, is a senior at Springfield High School.
  • Torian Henry, son of Tiffany Harris and Scott Henry, is a senior at Southeast High School.
  • Jocelyn Holmes, daughter of Carolyn Holmes, is a senior at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School.
  • Judaea Hopson, daughter of Carla Sturdivant and Kenny Hopson, is a senior at Southeast High School.
  • Welkin Huelsman, son of Li Ye and Larry Huelsman, is a senior at Springfield High School.
  • Nina Litvak, daughter of Ruta Kulys-Litvak and Jordan Litvak, is a senior at Springfield High School.
  • Eric Martin, son of Catherine Fox and Randolph Martin, is a senior at Springfield High School.
  • Justin Nwajei, son of Stella and Augustine Nwajei, is a senior at Springfield High School.
  • Amara Rahman, daughter of Asima and M. Adil Rahman, is a senior at Glenwood High School in Chatham.
  • Talore Rowl, daughter of Fallon and Isaiah Johnson, is a senior at Southeast High School.
  • Harrison Rumple, son of Julie Potter and Val Rumple, is a senior at Southeast High School.
  • Raj Sinha, son of Ravita and Raj Sinha, is a senior at Springfield High School.
  • Allison Teichman, daughter of Hillary Gorrell and Ronald Teichman, is a senior at Springfield High School.
  • Ben Thiele, son of Lisa and Jim Thiele, is a senior at Springfield High School.
Photos from the event are located here:
Photo caption: District 186 Superintendent Jennifer Gill congratulates P4 student Nexci Drake during the graduation ceremony on February 14.
Schedule an interview or request more information by contacting:

Lesley Barfield
Nalo Mitchell


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