Through a multimillion-dollar grant from the National Cancer Institute, the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center recently expanded its successful Appalachian Career Training in Oncology (ACTION) Program to include high school students from Appalachian Kentucky counties.

The ACTION Program offers Appalachian Kentucky high school students the opportunity to gain cancer research, clinical, outreach and educational experiences that will enrich their interest in pursuing a future cancer-focused career.

After reviewing more than 90 applications for the program, a Markey committee has selected 20 high school students to enroll in the program for the 2019 class. These students will participate in the program for a total of two years beginning with a five-week summer residential program on UK’s campus starting Sunday, June 9.

From Rowan County Senior High School, students Andrew Davison and Holly Dickens were selected.

“We are beyond excited to begin working with our inaugural cohort of ACTION high school students,” said Nathan Vanderford, director of the ACTION Program and assistant professor in the UK College of Medicine.

“In reviewing applications, what stands out to me is how intelligent these students are and how excited they are to have an opportunity to engage in our program. Importantly, it is interesting to see how aware the students are about how dramatically they are impacted by cancer and other disparities that are so great in the Appalachian Kentucky region. We are ready to provide a life-changing experience to these students that will have a lifelong impact on the students, their families, and their communities.”